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Full text of "The independent"

It foretells your future; you see it every day..JJ//a/ is it? 




Start on EASTMAN. 

Finish on EASTMAN. 

Film • Tape 




Eastman Kodak Company, Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

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© Eastman Kodak Company. 1986 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INDEPENXNr 



JANUARY/ FEBRUARY 1987 
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 1 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff 

Production Staff 

Art Director 

Advertising 



National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Debra Goldman 
Renee Tajima 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Patricia Thomson 
Toni Treadway 
Ernest Larsen 
Morgan Gwenwald 
Christopher Holme 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), 
a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of 
video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership 
in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independent and 
the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's pre- 
vious appearance in The Independent. 
ISSN 0731-5198. 

Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1987 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, memPership 
director: Kathryn Bowser, festival bureau director; 
Morton Marks, business manager; Raina Fortlni, 
administrative assistant; Sol Horowitz, Short Film 
Showcase project administrator; Debra 
Goldman, Short Film Showcase administrative 
assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Joyce Bolinger 
(chair), Robert Richter (president), Howard Petrick 
(vice president), Robin Reidy (secretary), 
Christine Choy (treasurer), Loni Ding. Tom Luddy. 
Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Brenda Webb, 
Barton Weiss, John Taylor Williams. 



CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 All That Glitters... 

by Sherry Millner 

12 A Film with History 

by Lynne Tillman 

1 4 Board in Flames: Conservatives Take Control at CPB 

by Martha Gever 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Rights and Wrongs: Learning Channel Contracts 

by Patricia Thomson 

The $100-Million Treasure Hunt 

by Quynh Thai 

Sequels 

6 FIELD REPORTS 

Against the Odds: Native American Media Initiatives 

by Charlayne Haynes 

Screenings Central: The Independent Feature Market 

by Berenice Reynaud 

FESTIVALS 

Australian Oyssey: The Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals 

The Cannes Film Festival 

by Robert Aaronson 

In Brief 

IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

CLASSIFIEDS 

NOTICES 

MEMORANDA 



17 



22 

23 
25 
28 




COVER: The slickness of Pig-budget television is designed to mesmerize a mass 
audience. But what about media that aims to empower and enlighten rather than 
narcotize? In "All That Glitters..." video artist Sherry Millner insists that low-budget film and 
video don't require any apology. Her manifesto, first presented at Viewpoints; A 
Conference on Women, Culture, and Public Media, argues that the resourcefulness and 
focus required by limited budgets are effective tools in creating alternative media. 
Illustration; Sherry Millner. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



RIGHTS AND WRONGS: 
LEARNING CHANNEL CONTRACTS 



The Learning Channel cable programming ser- 
vice will launch the fourth part of its Indepen- 
dents program this April. Despite all the oppor- 
tunities envisioned by producers when cable/ 
satellite delivery systems were first introduced. 
The Independents is the only regular national 
fee-paying showcase to materialize. Since the 
Public Broadcasting Service remains open to 
relatively few independent producers. The Inde- 
pendents' existence, its continuity, and TLC's 
payment of $210 per minute make it all the 
more significant. Says Blaine Dunlap, whose 
Sometimes I Run was in the third TLC series, 
Ordinary People, "For all the great ecumenical 
discussions that independents have when they 
get together, there's nobody more efficient than 
some crapshooter with a big wad of money. 
[The Learning Channel] just gets stuff done: 
bang, bang, bang. They're really knocking [the 
series] out, and they're getting quality stuff. 
PBS would still be trying to figure out what to 
call it." 

But there's trouble in paradise. When the 
contracts for the upcoming series. Declarations 
of Independence, arrived in the mail, a number 
of producers were miffed. "When you sign the 
contract," explains producer Louis Hock, "they 
are buying the thing for the Learning Channel — 
and it's nonexclusive. But [the contract] also 
gives them rights to distribute to other cable 
systems. And it also gives them the right to dis- 
tribute to PBS. Which means it gives then the 
right to distribute to everybody — which was not 
the original sense I got from the Learning 
Channel." Anita Thatcher was particularly riled 
that PBS is once again getting free program- 
ming, and, while pleased with TLC's payment 
rate, she finds the giveaway to PBS demeaning 
to producers. "In the midst of something that 
was very wonderful and very appropriate and 
very forward-looking, to find something that is 
so backwards and so faulty in [the contract's] 
language was very upsetting." 
Representatives of TLC, however, say they are 
trying to help independents by substantially 
increasing the visibility of The Independents 
through an alliance with local PBS stations. 
Reaching only seven million households, TLC 
is available to a relatively small audience. The 
contract, which asks for more rights than TLC 
has used to date or plans to use, would allow the 
channel to supplement its regular outlets via 



stations in such major markets as New York 
City, Washington, Miami, Detroit, and New 
Orleans. 

For those aware of previous contract disputes 
with TLC, the situation seems like deja vu. 
Open-ended and ambiguous language, public 
television distribution rights, and lack of prior 
notice about the PBS clause were all issues that 
have come up in the past. While apparently 
none of this year's producers are going to 
withhold PBS rights, as some did in 1986, it is 
evident that the business relationship between 
TLC and independents has some wrinkles that 
need ironing out. 




Trick or Drink is one of twelve independent 
programs showcased on the Learning 
Channel's Ordinary People series. 

Courtesy the Learning Channel 



According to Stevenson Palfi, who has con- 
tracted with PBS, CBS Cable, and Britain's 
Channel Four in the past, TLC's contracts were 
"the worst I've ever seen." They were "ambig- 
uous, misleading, and so general that your work 
could end up being used all different kinds of 
ways. "TLC's 1986 contract for Ordinary People, 
like that for the first two series, said that TLC 
could use the program "in any manner, in any 
media, in any country." The grant of license 
appeared to be in perpetuity; educational insti- 
tutions could record the series; TLC's editing 
rights were extensive; and payment was to occur 
after airing, rather than upon delivery of the 
work. The PBS provision was tucked under 
"Method of Payment," three-quarters of the 
way through the document. What particularly 
incensed a number of producers, though, was 
that they had no prior knowledge of TLC's in- 
tention to distribute to public television. Accor- 



ding to Palfi, "[The series] was never advertised 
as such. Nobody ever said they would also 
distribute — for free — our programming to an- 
other market, which happens to be the biggest 
market in the country for our work, the biggest 
audience." 

Palfi was the first of several producers whose 
work was slated for Ordinary People to contact 
TLC and dispute the contract's terms. At the 
time, his Junebug Jabbo Jones had been recently 
completed. PBS had expressed some interest, 
and Palfi was not about to lose a potential sale. 
Other producers who had not yet had a chance 
to market their work also balked. While TLC 
does not ask for exclusive rights, producers 
were concerned that PBS stations would. 
Palfi, Dunlap, and Ralph Arlyck also contacted 
Lawrence Sapadin, the executive director of the 
Association of Independent Video and Film- 
makers. Two years earlier when The Indepen- 
dents was getting off the ground, Sapadin, who 
served on an advisory committee, had been ask- 
ed by the first series' producer Gerald O'Grady 
of Media Study/Buffalo to look over the original 
contract. Sapadin responded with a letter to 
O'Grady, outlining eight problem areas. None 
of these had been cleared up, however, in the 
1986 contract. When Sapadin called TLC pres- 
ident, Robert Shuman, to discuss the Ordinary 
People contracts, Shuman said neither Sapadin's 
letter to O'Grady nor his concerns had been 
passed on to him or anyone else at TLC. 

The upshot of these calls was a last-minute 
revision of the 1986 contract. PBS rights and 
after-market activities were deleted from all 
contracts. But not long after the revisions 
went out, an amendment was mailed to pro- 
ducers which, if signed, permitted broadcast 
by PBS stations over a three-month period. 
Of the 34 producers involved, "less than half 
a dozen," according to Shuman, withheld the 
PBS rights. Ordinary People will, therefore, 
be marketed to PBS stations as orginally 
planned (as were the two previous series, 
Dislpatches and Agenda), but with the 
necessary programs omitted. 

This predominently positive response to the 
public broadcast option would seem to indi- 
cate that most producers did not share Palfi et 
al.'s concerns. Some, like Julie Akeret, were 
first-time producers and happy for the expo- 
sure. Others generally had works that were 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



odd lengths or are several years old and thus 
stood little chance of finding a PTV outlet on 
their own. And some of the programs had 
already gotten PTV airtime. For those pro- 
ducers, a combined cable/PBS venue seemed 
desirable, and $210 per minute for a "second 
life" acquisition was thought generous. As 
Melinda Ward, executive producer of 
Declaration of Independence, said, "If you're 
not simply talking principle, but are talking 
the reality of the marketplace in real dollars, 
very few people are going to miss out." 
Individual stations, where most sales of inde- 
pendently produced programs to public tele- 
vision occur, pay about $50 per minute — / 
they pay at all — and much of that income is 
absorbed by the promotion costs a producer is 
expected to cover. 

But the point a number of producers are 
making is that if TLC is paying $210 for 
cable rights, then they should expect to pay 
an additional amount for the right to dis- 
tribute to public television stations, parti- 
cularly if the work is premiering on The 
Independents. As a retrospective series, Dec- 
larations of Independence contains almost no 
premieres, which is one reason why there are 
fewer problems with this round of contracts 
than with Ordinary People. Virgil Grillo, 
who has been closely involved with the series 
since its inception, explains that the concept 
of giving older work a second life was part of 
the rationale for The Independents. In 
approaching the MacArthur Foundation, the 
principal funder of the series, "The whole 
claim was that there's a tremendous depth, a 
legacy, a 25-year backlog of fabulous pro- 
gramming, some of which has been seen but 
never adequately presented." Grillo considers 
$210 a very fair rate for such work. 
"Problems have arisen with people who have 
brand new programs, who characterize this as 
yet another rip-off. I think that is extremely 
wrong-headed, and it's going to mess up a 
very good deal." Grillo fears that, if asked 
for additional money to accommodate pre- 
mieres, MacArthur will back off, since it 
might appear that there isn't the great back- 
log of independent work that TLC originally 
claimed. 

Shuman believes that the series "needs to be 
positioned, marketed, and promoted to de- 
velop that audience out there, so that at some 
time it's not just the MacArthur Foundation 
that's putting money into something like 
this, but Ikegami, Fuji, and Sony." Building 
alliances with PBS stations and unaffiliated 
cable systems, even if that means letting 
them "cherry-pick the channel," is critical to 
audience growth. Also, now that TLC has 
jumped from 10 to 20 hours per day, Shuman 
sees TLC's carriage potentially increasing 
from its current level of seven million homes 
to 20 million. "When an audience is out 
there, that's when these corporations and bus- 
inesses are attracted." 



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Most of the producers involved in The 
Independents believe TLC is well-intentioned 
and have made their complaints openly and 
optimistically. But some remain skeptical. 
Dunlap, for instance, sees TLC "playing by 
the same rules any commercial operation 
plays by." He thinks the contract's language 
is no accident. "I think they were seeing how 
far they could go. You don't know until you 
put your foot in the water how hot the 
water's going to be. They found out, and now 
they're recanting and backtracking." 

Negotiations for Ordinary People resulted in 
several changes. Producers are now explicitly 
notified about TLC's intent to distribute to 
public television. Changes in the contracts in- 
clude the deletion of the most objectionable 
phrase, "in any manner, in any media, in any 
country." In addition, the time frame for 
distribution rights has been more specifically 
defined, the educational recording provision 
dropped, and TLC's editing rights made con- 
tingent on written consent. 

On the other hand, some controversial pro- 
visions were left intact — for example the 
timing of payment — or were only partially 
resolved — such as written consent to editing, 
which "may not be unreasonably withheld." 
Furthermore, under the "Grant of License" 
clause, piecemeal revisions have created con- 
tradictory language — "jibberish," in Sapadin's 
words. In fact, he suggested to Shuman that, 
after Ordinary People, a top-to-bottom 
rewrite of the contract is in order. And 
Shuman agrees. Why this did not happen prior 
to the fourth series is unclear. When ques- 
tioned, Shuman replied, "[Ordinary People and 
Declarations of Independence] are under the 
same grant, and we're locked into the amount 
of money we had available for that series." 
Shuman promises a rewrite of the contract 
before the next round and says TLC will 
consider, among other things, different con- 
tracts for old and new work. Shuman is anx- 
ious to build alliances and trust among inde- 
pendent producers, since he hopes to show 
their work for years to come. 

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THESIOO-MILLION 
TREASURE HUNT 

In a speech on November 3 at the Public Broad- 
casting Service Program Fair, PBS president 
Bruce Christensen appealed to stations that are 
members of the Special Programming Consort- 
ium, to invest an additional $100-million in its 
National ProgTam Service. "One hundred mil- 
lion dollars is the difference between good 
talent and great talent," said Christensen at 
the fair in Austin, Texas. It is the key, he 
maintained, to restoring public television's 
eroding claim to programming exclusivity. 
Without immediate attention and the money 
necesssary to produce, promote, and protect 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



new programs, argues Christensen, public 
television could find itself on the brink of 
mediocrity, as increasing numbers of "TV 
predators" snatch away its programs, its 
talents, and eventually, its audiences. 

While affirming SPC's success, Christensen 
suggested specific areas of improvement. The 
primary role of the SPC, he reminded attend- 
ees, is to guarantee the continuation of public 
television staples. Christensen explained that 
the SPC has not been attentive to entirely 
new series because such attention is not its 
primary concern. But, he emphasized that if 
member stations want increased delivery of 
new programs, these stations must expend 
greater resources on nurturing new series 
from inception through maturity. 

The responsibility of providing the extra 
$100-million lies in the hands of member 
stations, according to Christensen. "The 
$100-million bullet is one the stations will 
have to bite," he said. They must take action 
to supplement corporate underwriting and 
federal appropriation, funding sources that 
tend to be unreliable. Since $100-million 
comprises only one-tenth of the system's 
current revenue, Christensen argued that the 
reorganization of expenditures could be a 
source of the additional money. 

Staff members of stations that were con- 
tacted appeared receptive to Christensen's pro- 
posal. George Miles, executive vice president 
and chief operating officer of WNET-New 
York, found the request reasonable. The goal 
of augmenting national programming funds 
by $100-million is both "practical and reach- 
able," Miles agreed, adding that extra 
funding would only further assure that PTV 
stations have the best projects. There is no 
question that a consensus exists among 
member stations that alternative sources of 
funding must be sought. The question to ask 
about Christensen's alternative concerns the 
sacrifices that might be required. Peter 
McGhee, program manager for National 
Production at WBGH-Boston, pointed out 
that the reorganization of expenditures to 
create more program production funds could 
translate into reduced local programming or 
reduced funds for acquiring new syndications. 

According to Christensen, the impetus 
behind the $100-million proposal stems from 
the conclusion reached by various managers, 
producers, state network chiefs, and market 
managers that national programming is in 
need of improvement by means of collabora- 
tion and internal financing. Whether or not 
this new mood of unity for reform will be 
reflected in deeds depends on Christensen's 
future success in encouraging concensus among 
PBS stations. According to McGhee, the pro- 
posed $100-million may or may not material- 
ize in the next couple of years, depending on 
concrete plans to aggregate and disperse this 
money. 

QUYNHTHAl 



SEQUELS 



The John D. and Catherine T. Mac- 
Arthur Foundation has made good on the 
requests for proposals that were sent to a 
number of media arts centers in September 
1986 ["The Big Mac," December 1986] by 
awarding 36 groups a total of $820,000, the 
largest chunk of new money given to the 
independent media field in a long while. Only 
a select number of organizations received the 
requests for proposals, and almost all those 
awarded grants appear on the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts' list of "designated media 
arts centers," leaving out in the cold some 
groups categorized as "national services," 
"expansion arts organizations," or those that 
have not received the NEA Media Program 
imprimatur. Ted Heam, a spokesperson for 
MacArthur, told The Independent that the 
foundation had not yet decided whether such 
grants will be awarded in the future, al- 
though they remain interested in supporting 
independent media. 

The 36 groups received grants ranging from 
$15,000 to $50,000. $15,000 grants: Asian 
Cinevision, Black Filmmaker Foundation, Car- 
negie Museum of Art, Center for Contem- 
porary Arts of Santa Fe, Chicago Film- 
makers, Film Forum, Global Village Video 
Resource Center, Image Film/Video, Institute 
of Contemporary Art, Locus Communica- 
tions, Media Project, Neighborhood Film/ 
Video Project, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, South 
Carolina Arts Commission, UCVideo, Utah 
Media Arts Center, Visual Communications, 
Walker Art Center, and Whitney Museum of 
American Art; $30,000 grants: Bay Area 
Video Coalition, Boston Film/Video Foun- 
dation, Capital Children's Museum, Center 
for New Television, Facets Multimedia, Long 
Beach Museum of Art Foundation, Museum 
of Modern Art, Rocky Mountain Film Cen- 
ter, UCLA Film and Television Archives; 
$50,000 grants: Downtown Community Tele- 
vision Center, Film Arts Foundation, Film in 
the Cities, Film/Video Arts, Pacific Film 
Archive. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 5 



FIELD REPORTS 



AGAINST THE ODDS: 

AMERICAN INDIAN MEDIA INITIATIVES 




Charlayne Haynes 



The high mortality rate for media centers in 
upstate New York and the lack of accessible 
models that encourage development has not 
daunted the spirit or determination of Native 
Americans who want to produce and distribute 
media in their own communities. One of the 
most active resources for Native American me- 
dia is the Education Department of the Seneca 
Nation, located on the Cattaraugus Reservation 
in upstate New York. During the weekend of Oc- 
tober 24—26, the Senecas hosted the first Native 
American Screening and Video Production Work- 
shop, cosponsored by the Film and Video Cen- 
ter of New York City's Museum of the Amer- 
ican Indian. 

Home to the largest settlement of Senecas in 
the Northeast, the ambience of the Cattaragus 
Reservation reflects its locale, 75 miles from 
Buffalo, the nearest city. This quiet rural atmo- 
sphere was conducive to concentrated work and 
to creating a unified purpose among the diverse 
group of Indian producers and educators from 
Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Tuscarora, 
and Cayuga Nations — the Iroquois Confederacy. 

Also among the participants were media and 
cultural organizations from around the state, 
including the Gannagaro State Historic Site, the 
country's largest Native American museum and 
cultural center; Squeaky Wheel, the Buffalo- 
based collective of film and video producers; and 
organizers of Public Access: Report on the 
Involvement of Communities in Producing 
Alternative Television, better known as PAR- 
TICIPATE. I went as a representative of the 



The works of Native 
American videomakers, 
such as Victor Masa- 
yesva, Jr.'s tape Itam 
Hakim, Hopiit, opened 
the first Native American 
American Screening 
and Video Production 
Workshop. 

Courtesy Museum of the 
American Indian 



Media Action Project, organized by the Film 
News Now Foundation and Third World News- 
reel, a New York State initiative designed to in- 
crease the presence of people of color in video, 
radio, television, and audio arts. Our role as re- 
source participants was to provide practical in- 
formation for the workshop and to find out the 
concerns of Native American producers. 

The weekend opened on Friday evening with a 
public screening of "welcome videos," program- 
med by Elizabeth Weatherford, the director of 
the annual Native American Film and Video Fes- 
tival. The five samples of traditional documen- 
tary and experimental forms illustrated the range 
of work by Indian producers around the country. 
Most of these tapes expressed common themes 
of culture, family traditions, and survival. Older 
cinema verite-style educational pieces, such as 
the chronicle of planting traditions produced by 
the educational center of the Creek Nation, con- 
trasted with the highly stylized work of Victor 
Masayesva, the highly respected Hopi photo- 
grapher turned filmmaker, whose soundtracks are 
recorded only in the Hopi language. Masayesva 
portrays the drama of nature and silence in a 
striking way, using, for example, the intensity 
of lightening or images of the moon to evoke 
the stories told by Hopi elders. Acknowledging 
the diversity of Indian works, Joyce Gates, the 
pioneer videomaker, activist, and teacher at the 
Cattaraugus Center, stressed the need for com- 
munity involvement, building on the curiosity 
about media production to challenge the fear of 
using technology. 

Saturday's session was led by Karen Ranucci, 
videomaker and teacher at Downtown Commun- 
ity TV in New York City. She organized a 
simple but effective workshop, screening 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



works-in-progress by about half a dozen 
conference participants. The tapes, in different 
stages of production, reflected various levels of 
skill. As resource people, we helped identify 
problem areas in each tape, suggesting practical 
solutions or alternatives to the producer. 

The first of these presentations struck a 
familiar chord — the question of control. Peter 
Jemison, a painter and manager of the Gan- 
nagaro Historical Site, related a tragic tale of the 
production of a 30-minute video, ostensibly 
made to orient visitors to the site and to ce- 
lebrate the Indian presence there since the 
seventeenth century. The players in the tale 
included a white anthropologist cum produc- 
er/director who had studied Indian artifacts but 
wanted desperately to direct; an advisory group 
composed of Native Americans who had no 
experience with production budgets, contracts, 
or organization; and a coproducing public 
television station that soon tired of the subse- 
quent chaos. 

Jemison, well-known in Indian media circles, 
was brought in on the project at the eleventh 
hour, when the anthropologist's failure to com- 
municate with the Indian community had created 
an impasse in the project. At that point, Jem- 
ison contended, the video looked like "the worst 
National Geographic special imaginable." The 
workshop participants who viewed the tape con- 
curred. They criticized its use of an intrusive nar- 
rator, which obliterated the real voices of the 
people, the images of historical artifacts presen- 
ted randomly and without accurate explanation, 
and the use of confusing language. 

Although it was too late to produce another 
tape because the site is scheduled to open this 
spring, Jemison received guidance on dealing 
with future projects, and most important, les- 
sons on protecting one's work and the commun- 
ity's interests. Many of the participants echoed 
Jemison's frustration over the difficulty of main- 
taining editorial control over their projects. 
They stressed that long-term support and hands- 
on training would be the most effective antidote 
to the problem of control. The barriers that 
inhibit Indians on the road to self- definition are 
endemic to minority artists who challenge wide- 
spread cultural distortion and defamation. 

Ranucci selected several of Saturday's tapes for 
the next day's intensive editing sessions. The 
workshop had identified several basic but critical 
areas in postproduction: knowing the audience 
and determining a major focus, purpose, and 
structure for the work. Some of the segments 
later shown startled the audience with their wit 
and promise, such as Joyce Gates' video promo- 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 




s 




3HL 



ting a celebrated Indian lacrosse team, or Brad 
Bonaparte's community profile of the Akwe- 
sasne Nation. Bonaparte, once a visual artist, is 
now a videomaker with the Travelling College 
of Akwesasne. He brought almost six hours of 
footage on political issues like environmental 
pollution and the impact of growing businesses 
such as Indian-owned construction and iron- 
working companies. Rodney Pierce, an Alle- 
gheny tribal councillor and one-man video oper- 
ation, screened several of his unedited tapes. The 
most impressive was a document of the profit- 
able Bingo boom, a successful Indian enterprise 
that attracts nearly 2,000 players every night. 

Despite the lack of training and shortage of 
funds for educational media projects, the produc- 
ers have certain advantages. Many are affiliated 
with tribal education departments that receive 
federal funding for state-of-the-art video equip- 
ment. Because of the fascination with seeing 
oneself on television, the hardware is in con- 
stant use, documenting Indian community life, 
enabling the education departments to raise 
additional money for equipment. The Cattarau- 
gus Center alone bought $6,000 worth of new 
equipment last year — not a minor feat for an 
education program just testing the private fund- 
ing waters. Another windfall came to Pierce 
when he accidently discovered a closet-full of 
video equipment at the Allegheny reservation. 
The treasure trove had apparently been purchased 
by a previous educational program, only to be 
forgotten. Pierce has used the equipment to 
nurture Project Resource, which assumed the 
urgent task of documenting the elders on tape 
for future generations. 

However, equipment alone cannot create pro- 
grams. Indian producers feel that, lacking train- 
ing, they remain vulnerable. Geographically iso- 
lated from the other media organizations in 
upstate New York, they want to communicate 
with other producers. One potential vehicle is 
public access cable, an opportunity that can be 
facilitated with the help of the PARTICIPATE 
program. The Media Action Project will help 
link Indian producers to long- and short-term 
training services, public and private funding 
sources, and organizational assistance, and will 
organize another workshop, possibly at 
Akwesasne. 

The consensus among the group was that 
Native American communities have history on 
their side. They have launched small-scale me- 
dia productions through a grassroots foundation 
and can now build on their resources with care- 
ful planning and support generated by the 
conference. Plans are already being made for the 
next year's workshop on producing for cable. 
With this level of activity, these communities 
can galvanize new models that others can 
follow. 

Charlayne Haynes is an arts and media producer 
who is currently director of the Media Action 
Project. 



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The International Angle 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



SCREENINGS CENTRAL: 

THE 1986 INDEPENDENT FEATURE MARKET 




Berenice Reynaud 



In the late seventies, a group of filmmakers led - 
by independent producer Sandra Schulberg deci- 
ded it was time they were recognized as a new 
movement. Deciding further that nobody could 
better serve their interests than themselves, they 
organized a retrospective of about 20 indepen- 
dent movies as a sidebar at the New York Film 
Festival. In time they discovered the necessity 
of creating their own structure. Such was the ori- 
gin of the Independent Feature Project in New 
York City, whose major activity is sponsorship 
of the Independent Feature Market, now in its 
eighth year. 

Held between October 1 and 1 1 (slightly over- 
lapping the New York Film Festival press 
screenings) in the Department of Cultural Af- 
fairs building at 2 Columbus Circle, the Indepen- 
dent Feature Market 1986 presented 64 films — 
including shorts and works-in-progress shown 
at the video sidebar. The market should not be 
confused with a festival. Every filmmaker who 
pays the entry fee has the right to participate.* 
However, Sam Kitt, director of the market, spec- 
ifies, "We're just not interested in showing ex- 
ploitation material." Indeed, the market exists 
essentially to prove that "indies" can produce 
quality movies with a commercial potential. 

For Kitt, the evolution of the IFM reflects 
recent developments of a certain form of indepen- 

* Depending on the time of registration, and the 
category of screening (feature or video), regis- 
tration fees vary from $ 1 50 to $300, on top of a 
$60 IFP membership fee for individuals, $150 for 
organizations. 

8 THE INDEPENDENT 



Distributors and festival 
directors from all over 
the world had the 
opportunity to see 
Barbara Margolis' Are 
We Winning the War 
Mommy? at the 
Independent Feature 
Market. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



dent cinema. "At the beginning of the eighties 
the term 'American Independent film' was coin- 
ed, and it became a movement recognized by the 
press. The Return of the Secaucus Seven was 
the first of a wave of successful well-known 
independent films." These movies are distributed 
as "specialty films." i.e., in a more cautious, 
less spectacular, and less costly manner than 
commercial releases. They open in only one cin- 
ema per city, and the lab strikes only between 
15 and 40 prints, while the major studios release 
hundreds of prints simultaneously. 

Can the independents presented at the market 
expect to find a distribution deal? Kitt says: "I 
don't think a lot of deals are struck here. Con- 
tacts are made during the market that usually 
bear fruit over a period of time." Last year, five 
or six films presented at the market were re- 
leased theatrically including Dan Bessie's Hard 
Traveling, Bill Sherwood's Parting Glances, 
Aviva Kempner and Josh Waletzky's Partisans 
of Vilna, and Manfred Kirchheimer's We Were 
So Beloved — and Kitt is "pretty sure" that they 
were discovered at the market. He adds that, fol- 
lowing last year's market, British television's 
Channel 4 bought a half dozen films, and a few 
American independent films, including Mark 
Romanek's Static, were successfully released in 
England. 

Some skeptical filmmakers assert that "most 
deals are done outside the market, and even be- 
fore the market." Henry Seggerman, who heads 
the independent film acquisition department at 
Paramount, offers a more balanced point of 
view. "Exhibiting a film at the IFM should 
only be an element in an overall marketing 
strategy that includes, among other things, 
festival exposure, early critical exposure, sidebar 
at Cannes, sneak previews with specially recruit- 



ed audiences, etc. The most important thing in 
the market," he adds, "is to be able to meet with 
all buyers in one place, especially those who are 
not based in New York or Los Angeles." 

Barbara Margolis, who was presenting her 
feature-length documentary Are We Winning 
Mommy? America and the Cold War, agrees. 
Her film was listed in the market's booklet as a 
work-in-progTess film a few years ago. After 
withdrawing her film at the last minute for 
practical reasons, she just "hung out," making 
contacts that are only paying off now. "The 
problem is that independent filmmakers can't 
afford to wait for results to materialize," she 
comments wryly. But the market was a very 
good experience for her this year. People knew 
her name, and the film was invited by Ulrich 
Gregor to the Berlin Film Festival. "He was 
considering it before, but here he had the chance 
to see it, instead of my having to send a tape to 
him. The market speeds things up. It gives 
people one location and a whole range of films 
to look at." 

Everybody seems to agree: contacts provide 
most of the real benefits of the market. Mar- 
golis nevertheless notes that "often filmmakers 
do not know who they are talking to. Maybe the 
distributor they are smothering is only interested 
in programs for kids. The IFP staff should be a 
little more thorough in their descriptions of 
buyers." 

For Texas filmmaker Andy Anderson, whose 
Positive ID. was invited to several festivals (in- 
cluding Sidney, Florence, and the U.S. Film 
Festival) as a result of its exposure at the mar- 
ket, "things are still happpening," in terms of 
his distributor contacts. "I am fairly isolated 
here" in Arlington [Texas]; there are very few 
distributors looking around for films. The 
market is an opportunity to present the film to a. 
lot of people at once. I also got to meet other 
people, to see other films. If you don't live in 
New York, the IFM is a must." 

While the completed feature films were pro- 
jected in the 250-seat Mark Goodson Auditor- 
ium, shorter films and works-in- progress were 
shown on video in smaller screening rooms in 
the WNET building on West 58th Street. This 
showcase caused a considerable buzz. By show- 
ing unfinished product, filmmakers hope to raise 
additional money by interesting investors, strike 
a pre-distribution deal, or get funding from for- 
eign television. Michelle Paymar, who works 
for Overseas- Group, a distribution company 
based in Los Angeles and represented for the 
first time at the market, explains, "What's hap- 
pening in America now is that it has become 
very competitive to get pictures. So if there is a 
way we can be helpful in putting up some kind 
of financing, picking up the postproduction 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



costs, etc. in a film we believe in, it is really 
worthwhile to try to see them now, to get to 
know the filmmakers now, because we can 
perhaps help to finish the film and in exchange 
get the foreign rights." 

According to Beth B, who screened an almost 
finished version of her new feature, Salvation, "I 
mostly made lots of contacts with the Euro- 
peans. They are much more open-minded thah 
the Americans. I'm working on a distribution 
deal on pre-sale with European TV." But, she 
adds "You have to go out there and seduce the 
people into seeing your film, drag them to your 
screening." 

European festivals are also interested in works- 
in-progress. For example, Ulla Rapp of the 
Munich Film Festival explains that, while she 
had already seen some of the "most important" 
movies elsewhere (Anderson's Positive I..D., 
Phil Harman's No Picnic, Rachel Reichman's 
The River Red, Sara Driver's Sleepwalk, and 
Lizzie Borden's Working Girls), she still finds 
attending the market helpful. "The organization 
is getting better and better every year. We come 
to discover filmmakers here, and we also come 
to make contacts in the film world. We find 
filmmakers with works-in-progress or strug- 
gling to make a movie. And we try to look 
them up in a year or two." However, while a 
good script may still find its way to a German 
producer, the "golden age" of German television 
support of American independents seems to be 
over. "Somehow, they look more towards third 
world countries now," Rapp observed. 

For Jean-Pierre Garcia of the Amiens Film 
Festival, "The market is a key-moment of the 
year for us, since it is situated between two 
Cannes Films Festivals; it gives us the oppor- 
tunity to discover the state of the independent 
production in the U.S." 

The almost 300 buyers, a notable increase 
from last year, come with a variety of expec- 
tations. Some look for "hot items," others for a 
quiet little movie to distribute without risk. The 
networks search for their share of documentaries, 
and the festivals and European TV for more 
innovative work. Their interests, likes, and dis- 
likes differ: while the U.S. distributors generally 
thought "it was a good year for independent 
cinema," the representatives of European festi- 
vals were a bit disappointed. Wendy Lidell, a 
New York-based freelance programmer working 
for the festivals of Rotterdam, San Sebastian, 
and Bilbao, comments, "There are only very few 
movies shown at the market which are of 
interest to festival circuits, because the market 
has become increasingly commercial throughout 
the years. I am looking for more innovative, 
more subversive, more truly independent work." 

Movies that attract festival programmers are 
often not the same ones that are picked up by 
distributors. One of the most obvious examples 
is Driver's Sleepwalk, invited to an extraordinary 
number of festivals in Europe, Canada, and 
Latin America, but still looking for U.S. distri- 
bution. It's questionable whether the market 



helps more experimental films. "If they are well 
connected to festival circuits," says Lidell, "may- 
be they can do it more cheaply than by entering 
the IFM." On the other hand, for younger film- 
makers whose more experimental work has not 
yet been widely seen on the international scene 
like Mark Daniels (The Influence of Strangers) 
or Nina Menkes (Magdalena Viraga: The Story 
of a Red Sea Crossing), the market might be a 
good platform. 

The market is trying to enlarge its scope by 
welcoming foreign independent movies. This 
effort remains modest, but might be expanded 
next year. Last October, in collaboration with 
the Amiens Film Festival, there was a special 
screening of Senegalese filmmaker Djibril 
Diop's 1973 film, Touki-Bouki, recently re- 
released in alternative theaters in France. And, in 
collaboration with the Franco-American Film 
Workshop, there was a presentation of Gerard 
Frot-Coutaz's Beau Temps mais Orageux en 
Fin de Journee. 

For Garcia, who has created a market for inde- 
pendent cinema at his Ameins Film Festival, it 
is vital that all the people interested in the 
future of "a certain cinema" actively collaborate 
at an international level. He wants to establish 
"the basis of a tight relationship between the 
IFP and the Amiens Market," and works at pro- 
moting theatrical release of independent features 
and shorts in France. "Even a modest theatrical 
release is vital. It makes it possible for the film 
to enter the market, for the filmmaker to be- 
come known." 

Last words of advice if you plan to enter the 
IFM next year: Rely on the staff. They are cour- 
teous, friendly, ready to help, and knowledge- 
able. In particular, ask them to introduce you to 
buyers rather than jumping on your prey, who 
may be trying to finish a cup of coffee or a 
sandwich. Work hard to bring people to your 
screening, but do not rely on one screening 
alone: buyers are busy and have continual sched- 
uling conflicts. Bring good quality videocasset- 
tes to give to people likely to be interested in 
you but who have missed your screening. Most 
out-of-town buyers stay a few days or even a 
week after the market to hole up in a screening 
room with piles of tapes. When the market staff 
says that "mail boxes are for personal messages 
only, not for promotional material," believe it. 
Your publicity kits should be ready to be handed 
to a sympathetic listener, but don't waste them 
in mail boxes; they will most likely end up as 
garbage. Consider the market as part of a long- 
term overall strategy, not as your salvation. 
Finally, look at other people's films, and have 
fun . 

Berenice Reynaud is a freelance critic and pro- 
grammer based in New York. Her work is pub- 
lished in Liberation, Cahiers du Cinema, Art 
Press International, Autrement, Parachute, After- 
image, Fuse, and Screen. She is currently writi- 
ng a book on independent cinema for Arden 
Press. 




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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



All That Glitters . . . 




Photomontage by Sherry Milner 



Sherry Millner 



Editor's note: In this and subsequent issues of 
The Independent we will publish some of the 
papers and transcribed talks delivered at View- 
Points: A Conference on Women, Culture, 
and Public Media held at Hunter College in 
New York City on November 8 and 9, 1986. 
This national conference was independently 
organized by a committee of women involved 
in fdm, video, and photography (including 
The Independent editor Martha Gever and 
associate editor Renee Tajima), cosponsored 
by Women Make Movies and Hunter College 
Women s Studies Department, and funded by 
the New York State Council on the Arts and 
the New York Council on the Humanities. 

a 

This paper/talk was prepared for the panel on 
"Cheap Media," forcing me (happily) to re- 
fine my ideas around producing bargain media. 

10 THE INDEPENDENT 



The fact that it resembles a manifesto is no 
accident. 

□ 

The most typical approach in talking about 
cheap media runs something like this: "Well, 
I had a very limited budget, and given that, I 
did the best I could... I cut corners. ..couldn't 
do all the stuff I would have if I had the 
budget I wanted, but...." The tone is apol- 
ogetic. "Forgive me, forgive my art, make al- 
lowances for it because I did the best I could 
under the circumstances." 

Now my position is that you never apol- 
ogize for being poor. You don't shuffle hat in 
hand, act humble. You don't talk cheap. You 
are cheap. The theory and practice of cheap 
media has its own validity, a validity that in 
my opinion often eclipses and/or gives the lie 
to expensive media. 

What I want to do here is lay out a series of 
interrelated ideas that state the case for cheap 
media. I'm going to overstate the case delib- 
erately, because the glitter of wealth is so 



alluring that I suspect that only a pretty 
unyielding statement will do the trick. I have 
another reason for overstating the case: few 
women are as yet able to gain access to 
producing media. Cheap media may hold out 
the promise of greater access and immediacy 
of production for women — particularly for 
women without access to professional schools 
and high-tech equipment. The particular areas 
I want to cover are technology, audience, eco- 
nomics, aesthetics, and politics. 

□ 

Working cheap is suposed to mean that you 
must limit your access to hardware, that you 
cannot expect to use so-called state-of-the- 
art high-tech equipment. I'm not sure this is 
true. It's more likely to mean that you must 
be precise in your uses of technology. When- 
ever you focus you gain intensity. But such 
concentration means that you must be clear 
about being in control of the means of pro- 
duction. For example, a good cheap artist 
won't deny herself the use of special effects 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



on principle; poverty in this case doesn't mean 
sacrifice or denial. But effects are used spar- 
ingly to make or stylize and, therefore, en- 
hance specific points; they provide emphasis. 
Denied the chance to become ends in them- 
selves, special effects can never deteriorate in- 
to formalist flourishes; they remain special. 
The point here is to avoid setting up high 
technology as either an ogre or a savior. Both 
of these images are overwhelming and mis- 
leading. But, as an approach to high-tech, 
cheap media doesn't deny itself anything ex- 
cept the vulgarity of such assumptions. 

What the good cheap artist worries about is 
how to gain enough access to technology, 
enough time on the machines to begin to fig- 
ure out what is possible. She realizes that the 
more complex and expensive the technology, 
the more male control there is over the ma- 
nipulation of that technology. When you're 
not pushing the buttons yourself, who is in 
the driver's seat? And we all know that the 
process of image-making is preeminently an 
art of decision-making. This is not an attempt 
to revive the individualist claim to total con- 
trol. Instead, the issue here is a disciplined 
attempt to understand the latent potential of 
whatever machine you have available. How 
can you do that unless you can have hands-on 
capability? Too often when that access to 
technology is not hands-on, the results look 
alike, the techniques become an end in them- 
selves. In art, as in industry, the machines are 
intended as labor-saving devices, but — at 
least in art — they are not supposed to be 
saving the labor of thought. 

□ 

High-tech, high-budget art is invariably ex- 
tolled as a sure-fire short cut to a mass 
audience. All serious media artists desire 
large responsive audiences. You can't get 
large audiences unless you imitate the pro- 
duction values of the dominant media. There- 
fore, you strive to attain the seductive high- 
gloss surface of the major consumer products. 
Cheap art, this argument holds, is just not in 
the running. By the Mayor Kochs of the high- 
tech world we are consigned to minimal, 
out-of-the-way shelters or, virtually home- 
less, must beg for crumbs from beleaguered 
foundations. And, as our mothers always 
warned us, beggars can't be choosers. 

Our response is that many small audiences 
often add up to much more than one large au- 
dience. What may be at stake here are two 
different concepts of what it means to reach 
an audience. Expensive media fits the mass 
notion of bourgeois representative democracy. 
If your aim is to reach the most people — 
sheer numbers — in the smallest amount of 
time, then it behooves you to dilute your 
project as much as it can bear and still taste 
like something. This is sort of a Gatorade 
approach. Cheap art, on the other hand, fits a 
more radical concept of democracy, based not 




TV: SURGEON of the SOUL 



Photomontage by Sherry Mllner 



on the theory of mass reception predicated on 
a certifiable degree of audience passivity, but 
on the self-motivation, participation, and 
volatility of small, identifiable audiences. To 
continue the metaphor of thirst, which is 
more fortifying — Gatorade or orange juice 
you squeeze yourself? Cheap artists prefer the 
intimacy and involvement of many small au- 
diences. This preference has both aesthetic and 
political implications. 

□ 

Cheap media must necessarily ground itself in 
the economy of the everyday. It digs in rather 
than looking out. Yet the experienced cheapie 
does not acknowledge constraint. Instead, she 
regards rummaging in the bargain basement 
with appetite and a kind of visceral antici- 
pation. The result is not merely a bargain but 
a prize, a real find. 

I've always shopped at discount stores 
(often out of necessity). In fact, I like flea 
markets even better, and cheap media approxi- 
mates the same sensibility. So maybe bargain 
media is a better term than cheap media — the 
only place you can still get something for 
next to nothing. And its polar opposite, ex- 
pensive media, might better be called over- 
priced media, because like overpriced clothing 
you get less than you pay for. 

Low budgets force alternative solutions to 
aesthetic problems. If your ideas are thread- 
bare, it is certainly much easier to disguise 
the fact by dressing them up in high-fashion, 
high-tech. Wowed by the effect, you don't 
bother to consider what it means. What hap- 
pens when you can't rely on technology to 
produce your effect? Your have to produce it 
yourself. You actually have to invent your 
own means of production. 

Although the strategy of five years of 
arduous fundraising in order to spend a year 
making a film or tape is understandable, the 
time lost seems more of a hardship than the 
lack of money. The ability to represent ideas 
or issues or events without the long lag be- 
tween conception and execution extends to 



cheap media the great benefit of immediacy. 
The value of immediacy may lie in the 
necessity to grasp the complexity of lived 
experience in its own time, its own lived 
moment. 

Bargain media often relies heavily on the use 
of props: usually inexpensive dime-store 
items or second-hand goods, things that have 
already been discarded and recycled. Instead of 
buying stock footage, you tend to pirate it off 
the air, instead of traveling to a location, you 
use a postcard. When I needed a battle scene 
for Scenes from the Micro-War, I used 50 toy 
soldiers, some dirt and shrubs, small fire- 
crackers and toy caps, and burned it all up on 
the small patio of my sublet apartment. If I 
need props that I can't make myself I buy 
them discount and when the shooting stops I 
sell them back at the flea market. The raffish 
look of most cheap media tends to mock the 
pretensions of commodity culture or, better 
yet, challenge them. 

Bargain media is not only inexpensive, but 
employs an economy of means so that in the 
means one can perceive the ends. In overpriced 
media the means often exceed the ends. 

□ 

Since it is not obliged to attract huge audi- 
ences, bargain media does not have to be nice, 
pleasant, or well-behaved. It doesn't have to 
sugar-coat its intentions. Throwing aside 
expectations about what media should look 
like or what it should say, bargain media can 
afford to be offensive and to encourage people 
to take sides. But overpriced media is obliged 
to be polite, to avoid too many risks, and to 
resist challenging assumptions. Overpriced an 
assumes consensus, cheap art assumes commit- 
ment. Who would make cheap art if not com- 
mitted to it, if the urgency to produce media 
didn't outstrip her or his means? Like it or 
not you are always fighting two battles at 
once: for an alternative content embodied in 
an alternative form. What you say tends to be 
risky, but how you say it often provokes .is 
much trouble. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



One rich vein of much cheap media is the 
revelation of its own process, a process in 
which the homemade and the handmade are 
reconciled with technology. And, of course, 
as cheap feminists we are interested in under- 
mining the separation between artmaking and 
daily life. Cheap media revels in the notion of 
texture, trying to enrich the surface, not hid- 
ing the seams, the awkwardness, or even the 
mistakes. Heterogeneity allows for multiple 
possibilities, while the homogeneity of over- 
priced media produces an uninfected surface, 
a slickness, a seamlessness. Cheap media's 
interest in — even insistence on — exposing its 
own making matches its interest in revealing 



the more or less hidden relationships of 
power. 

My own interest is in making work that 
foregrounds everyday life, the family, the 
body — to try to represent even in a small way 
what is not being represented by the dominant 
media. And that commitment extends to for- 
mal issues as well as to content — a commit- 
ment to represent in the making, in the way 
the images are put together, an aesthetic that 
is not represented by the dominant media. The 
point is to encourage people to take control 
of their own lives, their own images, to begin 
representing their own struggles without a 
high degree of technical expertise to become 



speaking subjects, makers of meaning, active 
participants instead of passive consumers. In 
an era in which budgets are ballooning every- 
where, cheap media may be the last refuge for 
tough-minded political artists. 

I wish to thank Ernest Larsen, with whom 
many of these ideas have been developed. 

Sherry Millner is a film and videomaker 
currently teaching at Rutgers University. Her 
recent videotapes include Womb with a View 
and Scenes from the Micro- War. 

©Sherry Millner 1987 



A Film 

With 

History 



Lynne Tillman 



This paper/talk grew out of discussions 
Yvonne Rainer and I had as preparation for 
our panel, entitled "Making History: Revis- 
ing and Representing." I chose to begin by 
speaking about Committed, to focus on my 
practice, which is informed by theory. Or, 
rather, is my theory. 

□ 

Committed has been called a biopic; and 
worse, it's been called a docudrama. Both 



terms deny the film its interpretive, its fic- 
tional aspects. I think of Committed, the 
film I co-directed with Sheila McLaughlin, 
as a film with history. Committed tries to 
locate a person's life within a particular so- 
cial, political, and historical framework. It 
includes not just psychological insights into a 
person's life, but social facts — facts with 
which an individual interacts in a lifetime. 

By social facts I mean, for instance, the way 
in which the judge who orders Frances Far- 
mer's commitment is represented. In a few 
lines of dialogue he espouses a philosophy — 
anti-communist, profamily, religious (he's a 
minister) — and all of these "facts" delineate 



who he is within the American social fabric 
of the time. And what issues of the time are 
expressed through an individual who claims 
certain ideas, specific ideas. 

Frances' mother, Lillian, is seen addressing 
the nation over the radio, warning other mo- 
thers against communism. This is followed 
by a radio announcer who presents, as part of 
a newscast, excerpts from the proceedings of 
the Congress on Mental Hygiene, held in 
Washington, D.C., in 1930. (The speeches he 
reads represent the only documents in the 
film.) The mother's speech tells us something 
about the political climate, as well as the 
role of the family — in particular, mothers — 
in regard to the state. The radio announcer 
presents the "learned speech," the conven- 
tional wisdom, of mental hygiene profes- 
sionals and the psychiatric establishment in 
regard to mental illness and good citizenship. 
And it is against this background that Frances 
Farmer will be judged insane. All of these 
scenes occur in the first eight minutes of the 
film. 

So by being a film with history I mean that 
Committed attempts to interpret for a con- 
temporary audience what forces might deter- 
mine the shape of a person's life, within a 
particular time. If the country were not hell- 
bent on the idea of mental hygiene and good 
citizenship, if the country were not in a 
period of intense anti-communist and pro- 
communist activity, Frances Farmer's life 
would have been different. This may seem too 
obvious even to mention, but I don't think so. 
And this is not to deny the psychological 
issues between Frances and her mother, for 
example, which we also deal with in the 
film. But through the agency of one person 
one can speak about a historical period. 
Through one person's history, one can say a 
great deal about history. And in this, narra- 
tive form can be used very effectively. 

On the other hand, the Hollywood film 
Frances denudes Frances Farmer of this his- 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 




Courtesy Women Make Movies 



tory, so that her life appears to exist or hang 
suspended outside the play of historical and 
current events, turning her life into the worst 
example of one woman's defeat, an individual 
failure, rather than a failure that many others 
could suffer, too, and did. 

One of the things Committed does is con- 
struct a voice, a fictionalized voice, for some- 
one called Frances Farmer. And it places that 
voice against at least five others — law, psy- 
chiatry, politics, Hollywood, the family. By 
having these "voices" in juxtaposition with 
each other, we arrive at a way to see an indi- 
vidual operating within the institutions; we 
allow for an interpenetration of ideas, voices, 
institutions. We allow for ambiguity and 
contradiction. In this way Committed prob- 
lematizes what makes an individual and what 
an individual might be rather than simplify- 
ing that process. 

In this I believe I'm participating, as both a 
filmmaker and a novelist, in the recent turn 
to and interest in narrative as a way to tell 
"the truth." Or to complicate it — to repre- 
sent our lives in fiction through narrative or 
as fictions. In the Women's Movement of the 
late sixties and early seventies, there was an 
emphasis on telling "the truth" through docu- 
mentary, through the use of documents. Early 
on we learned that few documents existed, 
and that without diaries and letters we'd have 



almost no knowledge of women's lives. This 
would seem to call for a great deal of inven- 
tion on our parts to create a history. Or, like 
people's history, an effort to look at what 
got thrown away, went unrecorded, was sub- 
merged or suppressed. Or perhaps it might 
mean that we'll never be able to reconstruct 
women's history entirely through record. 

This seems to me fertile ground for 
fiction — for interpretation, since history it- 
self can be called a series of interpretations or 
constructions, with those in power estab- 
lishing official history and those of us out of 
power insisting on what gets called unofficial 
history. Or is sometimes called propaganda. 
Committed has been called propaganda, or 
agitprop. What's called propaganda is always 
that philosophy and information different 
from that which is held by those in power. 

History is working with and constructing 
meaning(s), and power depends on the ability 
to define and impose meaning. And since 
everything we do operates out of a politic, 
even when a maker might think not, all work 
can be considered propaganda. The word comes 
from the Church. Pope Gregory XV organ- 
ized a congregation for propagating the faith, 
and one might even consider • that this con- 
ference, or congregation, is something to prop- 
agate the faith. Our faith in feminism, our in- 
terest in representation. How we propagate 



the faith — what strategies we employ, what 
forms our ideas will take — is extremely 
important. 

We chose to represent Frances Farmer 
through a clash of fictional interpretations 
and constructions to avoid the position that 
we knew or could claim a real Frances 
Farmer. We did not hope to arrive at who 
Frances Farmer really was. We wanted to pre- 
sent a set of possibilities, a complicated ma- 
trix that could represent the fact that the self 
is not an absolute, divinely set entity. We did 
not see her as a role model, nor did we want 
to represent her as victim. 

We didn't want the film to be understood as 
one woman's struggle, ending in victimiza- 
tion or triumph. Most Hollywood films that 
pretend to "women's liberation" do that — 
tell that story, the Henrietta Alger story. 
But as we know, one woman's triumph is not 
enough. And if I don't want heroes, do I 
really want heroines? 

Lynne Tillman is a filmmaker and writer. 
Her novel Haunted Houses will be published 
in February 1987 by Poseidon Press (Simon & 
Schuster). 

© Lynnc Tillman 1987 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



Board in Flames 

CONSERVATIVES TAKE CONTROL AT CPB 



Martha Gever 



This year the public television system in the 
United States will celebrate the end of its 
second decade. Since its inception in 1967, the 
system, composed of the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting and its offshoot, the 
Public Broadcasting Service (created by CPB 
in 1969), has become a fixture of U.S. tele- 
vision and expanded from a loose conglom- 
erate of 125 educational TV stations* to the 
equivalent of a fourth network in the contin- 
ental U.S. But, in a country where telecom- 
munications, and television in particular, have 
always been driven by commercial interests, 
public television remains an anomoly — and an 
ideological battleground. 

From the days of the first Carnegie Com- 
mission on Educational Television, the group 
convened in the mid-sixties to study the 
possible creation of a national public system 
and make recommendations to government and 
the public at large, to the present, the dangers 
of direct political pressure have been ac- 
knowledged. A primary rationale for the design 
of the CPB structure was to insulate those 
responsible for program production and 
distribution from political interests: those of 
Congress and the executive branch. However, 
having established a system where the president 
appoints the directors of the coordinating and 
program-financing entity, CPB, and where 
Congress provides a sizable portion of the 
budget, politics inevitably enter the scene. 

Ronald Reagan, much like Richard Nixon, 
has been outspokenly hostile to the idea and 
existence of public broadcasting. Backed by 
eloquent neoconservative rhetoric, Reagan pro- 
posed crippling public television by elimin- 
ating all federal funding in his 1981 budget. 
Congress balked and the system survived the 
trauma of substantial budget cuts. In subse- 
quent years, the levels of federal support for 
CPB — and, through the mechanisms of dis- 
bursal of CPB funds to the stations, to PBS 
as well — have increased by increments below 
those recommended under Jimmy Carter but 

* Public radio, a significant component of the pub- 
lic broadcasting system, falls beyond the scope of 
this article. 



sufficient to keep operations intact.* Now, 
after six years in office, another Reagan- 
inspired assault on public broadcasting is 
being engineered by the governing body of 
CPB, its board of directors, which currently 
counts four proven conservatives, two liberal 
dissidents, and one political unknown. 

Actually, to attribute any of the political 
warfare taking place around public television 
to Reagan is a figure of speech; Reagan merely 
stands for the various neoconservative, right- 
wing ideologues who have achieved power 
during his presidency — individuals as diverse 
as new Supreme Court Chief Justice William 
Rehnquist and former National Endowment 
of the Humanities chair, now Secretary of 
Education William Bennett. To imagine that 
.the CPB board would escape such influences 
would require willful ignorance. Thus the 
appointment of Sonia Landau, once chair of 
Women for Reagan/Bush, and Richard Brook- 
hiser, senior editor of the National Review, to 
the CPB board in 1981 and '82 respectively, 
and Landau's subsequent ascendancy to the 
board chair in 1984, signalled a rightward 
swing at CPB. But only in the past year or so 
have the effects of these changes become pro- 
nounced. Last spring, following the expira- 
tion of Landau's term, Brookhiser proposed 
that CPB undertake a study of the political 
content of documentaries on public television. 
Leaving little to chance, Brookhiser named 
the communications researchers to be hired — 
political scientist S. Robert Lichter and his 
wife, sociologist Susan Lichter, both on the 
faculty of George Washington University — 
and the budget for the project — $180,000 
plus. Following protests from PBS execu- 
tives, including PBS president Bruce Chris- 
tensen, and Representative John Dingell (ID- 
Michigan), who chairs the House Subcom- 
mittee on Oversight and Investigations of the 
Committee on Energy and Commerce, with 



* For example, the appropriation for CPB in 1982 
was $172-million, as compared to the $200- 
million authorized at the end of Carter's presi- 
dency; the figures for 1983 were $137-million 
appropriation and $200-million authorization: and 
the 1984 authorization of $145-million ($137.5- 
million appropriated) reflects the public broadcast- 
ing policies of the Reagan administration. 



jurisdiction over the Communications Act of 
1934 and thus the activities of CPB, Brook- 
hiser's plan was tabled. The idea didn't die, 
however, and last October, as soon as Con- 
gress adjourned, Brookhiser instructed CPB 
management to put the study in motion. Re- 
searchers other than the Lichters have been ask- 
ed to bid for the contract, although respected 
media scholars critical of mainstream commun- 
ications structures such as Herbert Gans and 
George Gerbner were conspicuously absent 
from the list of those approached. Only a day 
before the RFPs were issued, PBS defensively 
announced implementation of its own in-house 
study of documentaries it has aired. 

To anyone aware of the ideological shadings 
possible in social science research, the politi- 
cal fodder that a content analysis might sup- 
ply is evident. Less immediately apparent is 
the motive of the conservative majority on 
the CPB board in demanding the resignation 
of CPB president Martin Rubenstein, less 
than a year after his appointment. Rubenstein, 
who came to CPB from a 25-year career in 
commercial broadcasting at ABC and Mutual 
Broadcasting, was forced to resign during the 
November board meeting under circumstances 
that remain murky. According to reports in 
the Washington Post and the Los Angeles 
Times, Landau, no longer on the board but 
still active behind the scenes, and Brookhiser 
were both critical of Rubenstein 's attempts 
to revamp CPB's contracting procedures [see 
"Bargains Galore: CPB Contracts and Inde- 
pendent Producers," The Independent. Decem- 
ber 1986], a reorganization of CPB business 
that diminished the power of CPB vice pres- 
ident, treasurer, and Landau favorite, Donald 
Ledwig. There is also speculation that Ruben- 
stein's less than whole-hearted support for 
the content analysis proposal may have been a 
factor. Hours after Rubenstein's resignation 
was secured by the board, Ledwig, a retired 
U.S. Navy captain was named acting president 
of the corporation. 

Whatever the cause, Rubenstein is the second 
CPB president to exit CPB after disputes 
with Landau and her supporters on the board. 
In May 1985, Rubenstein's predecessor Ed- 
ward Pfister handed the board his resignation 
after an acrimonious session where Landau. 
Brookhiser, and other conservative board mem- 
bers condemned plans for a CPB mission to 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



the Soviet Union and passed a motion to 
cancel the trip [see "Cold Wars Waged at 
CPB," The Independent, July/August 1985]. 
While neither Pfister nor Rubenstein could 
conceivably be labeled left-wing or even out- 
standingly liberal, it seems that the present 
CPB board demands a loyal ideologue to 
manage its day to day affairs. And, despite 
insistence by Landau and her allies on the 
board that they have no interest in overseeing 
program decisions, restated by Landau as re- 
cently as September 1986 during the Senate 
hearings on her renomination, the content 
analysis project bodes ill for those whose 
work may be determined "not objective" or 
"biased." 

The bias suspected to be over-represented on 
public television is, without doubt, liberal or, 
worse, left-wing. And, on this score, Brookhiser 
et al. exhibit suspicions in accord with those of 
the right-wing organization Accuracy in Media. 
AIM and its vociferous leader, Reed Irvine, 
have become household words to anyone 
attuned to public television disputes in this 
decade. Active as critics of the "liberal press" 
since the mid-seventies, AIM cut its teeth on 
the WGBH-produced 1984 series Vietnam: A 
Television History, which it attacked as severely 
distorted. AIM then secured funding from the 
NEH (a chairman's grant from Bennett) for its 
own televised rebuttal, Television' s Vietnam: 
The Real Story [see "Bennett Takes AIM," The 
Independent, September 1984]. This fall, 
AIM joined a concerted campaign against the 
WET A/BBC coproduction The Africans series, 
coordinating its denunciations with those 
issued by the National Conservative Founda- 
tion and the NEH, one of the series' funders 
[see "NEH Disowns 'The Africans,'" The 
Independent, November 1986]. 

Granted, AIM claims few diehard supporters 
and limited currency.* More notable, perhaps, is 
the corroboration between the positions taken 
by CPB board members Brookhiser, Howard 
Gutin, and Ken Towery, and their former 
colleague Landau and the regularly published 
commentaries on public television programs by 
John Corry, a staff television critic for the New 
York Times. Corry, it is well-known but rarely 
mentioned, is married to Landau. No conspiracy 
scenario is needed to perceive some of the com- 
mon ground they share, an ideological posi- 
tion also taken by Brookhiser, Gutin et al. 
Rather than trying to read the silences sur- 
rounding the arrivals and departures of high- 
ranking CPB personnel to determine the 
political environment of CPB circa 1987, it 
may be instructive to examine Corry's public 



* In "The Rise and Decline of Accuracy in Media," 
in the September 13, 1986 issue of the Nation, 
Michael Massing contends that few media profes- 
sionals consider Reed Irvine or AIM as responsible 
or serious critics of their work, despite Irvine's ag- 
gressive tactics and persistence. 



pronouncements and listen for the echoes in 
recent CPB policy decisions. 

□ 

In addition to his regular columns in the 
Times, Corry published a curious booklet last 
spring that spells out his views on contem- 
porary television journalism, including a 
short section on "The PBS Citadel." Corry 
argues in his tract, TV News and the Domi- 
nant Culture, that television news reporters 
and thus reportage in the U.S. inevitably veer 
to the left. Inevitable because "the dominant 
culture" is the domain of a left-wing intel- 




If You Hate America . . . 
You'll Love "The Africans" 

What would you think if your money were being 
used to promote anti-U.S. terrorists on public 
television? 
It is. 

On Tuesday. December 2. PBS will show the final episode of "The Africans." 
The concluding segment: 

• Glorifies the terrorist activities of Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi. 

• Equates President Reagan's punishment of Libya with terrorism. 

• Advocates an atomic bomb for revolutionary, anti-U.S. dictatorships. 

And all of this in an "educational" program for Grades 6-10 in our public schools! 

WATCH "THE AFRICANS" 

Then do two things: 

1) Call your local PBS affiliate and cancel any present or future pledges to PBS. 

2) Call your Congressman and demand a congressional investigation on the use of 
American taxpayer funds to promote anti-U.S., terrorist propaganda. 

WATCH "THE AFRICANS" 

• You're going to be furious 

• You have every right to be 

• You paid for it! 



The National Conservative Foundation 
spent $100,000 on ads, such as this one that 
appeared in the November 24 issue of 
Broadcasting , to call attention to what it and 
other right-wing organizations consider 
"leftist propaganda" on public television. 



ligensia who define and control cultural 
values in this country. This situation, he main- 
tains, is yet another sorry residue of the 
sixties: "Counterculture politics introduced 
the notion of victims, a category wide enough 
to include everyone except middle-aged white 
males." Laughable to anyone with even a 
slight progressive streak who watches any 
network public affairs programs and most of 
those on public television, Corry proclaims, 
"Whatever the recent literary gains of neo- 
conservatives [such as those of the Irving 
Kristol/Norman Podhoretz/Hilton Kramer 
ilk, profiled in a New York Times Sunday 
Magazine feature cited by Corry], the dom- 
inant culture still favors the left." 

Corry quotes authorities like Henry Kissinger 
on the U.S. press' treatment of the overthrow of 
the Allende government in Chile and related 
criticisms of Pinochet's brutality. He cites the 
theoretical musings of Jeane Kirkpatrick and 
Ben Wattenberg, another neocon notable. He 
faults the press coverage of the 1968 Conven- 



tion for bringing about the political downfall 
of Hubert Humphrey, "a decent man." And 
he finds the AIM response to Vietnam: a 
Television History "a provocative documen- 
tary. ..persuasive.. .AIM's conservative preju- 
dices nothwithstanding." 

For the most part, Corry relies on his own 
fractured versions of historical truth and inter- 
pretation, e.g., "...there was no evidence that the 
Central Intelligence Agency, or any other part 
of the United States Government, was involved" 
in the Chilean coup. But most curious, in light 
of the CPB connection, is the weight Corry 
gives to a study of voting patterns among 
television journalists which he uses as ele- 
mentary proof of his thesis about left-wing 
bias, a study conducted by Stanley Rothman 
and S. Robert Lichter. 

Rothman and Lichter, Corry notes, "found 
that members of the public-broadcasting com- 
munity were more liberal in their attitudes 
than their counterparts at the three commer- 
cial networks." And, on the subject of public 
broadcasting, Corry launches into his most 
extreme polemic: 

[Public broadcasting] was conceived in die '60s, 
when the Johnson Administration was interested in 
setting up all good things, and the idea that 
broadcasting might not be a proper involvement for 
government was never really discussed. Why, for 
example, should taxpayers' dollars be used to 
produce news shows? 

[Broadcasting] is a billion-dollar industry that long 
ago outgrew the need for federal subsidies, and long 
ago moved away from the idea that it was supposed 
to operate in the public interest. 

In his discussion of public television pro- 
gramming, following such rejections of the 
entire concept, Corry mentions only one title: 
Guatemala: When the Mountains Tremble and 
then dismisses his solitary example as a "vanity 
film, arguing an anti-democratic, anti-United 
States position." He then disingenously assigns 
When the Mountains Tremble something akin to 
favored status with the "PBS citadel," although 
it "it seemed a good deal more to the left than 
AIM's Vietnam documentary had been to the 
right." In fact, the Mountains producers had to 
contend with PBS delays and demands to get 
them to honor their agreement to air the 
program and had to agree to a panel discussion 
among PBS-approved "experts," including a 
State Department spokesperson [see "When 
the Stations Tremble." The Independent, 
December 1985]. 

But unpatriotic anti-Americanism is the 
battle-ax Corry wields to make his case 
against broadcast journalism. He begins and 
ends on that note. "[T]he Communist threat 
is real, cruel, and dangerous; when journalism 
doesn't identify it as such, journalism is 
bending to the left," he writes in his opening 
comments. Concluding with a discussion on 
"Tnvialization of the News." he condemns 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



the "spacebridge" programs that allow live 
exchanges between audiences in the U.S. and 
the Soviet Union via satellite. "Substantive 
issues are dissolved," he laments. Presum- 
ably, he decries any demystification of "the 
Evil Empire." 

TV News and the Dominant Culture gives 
us unadulterated Corry, but published in an 
obscure edition by a business-oriented think- 
tank called the Media Institute (which has 
also published work by the Lichters), pre- 
sumably for insiders. But anyone who reads 
the New York Times, either as a local paper 
or as respected national daily, regularly 
encounters Corry' s opinions on a number of 
public television offerings. Over time the line 
has become quite predictable. Peter Davis' 
Mandela is "suspect in its message... so de- 
termined to take a moral stance that it flouts 
the rules of reporting." The Africans is 
"anti-Western," and, according to Corry 
"anti-democratic," deserving whatever con- 
demnation the series receives. The series' 
scriptwriter and narrator, Ali A. Mazrui, in 
Corry's mind, uses the word "imperialism... 
interchangeably with capitalism and colonial- 
ism. ..practiced only by the West.... Mazrui 
uses facts and statistics like an ideologist and 
not a historian." But he finds the most recent 
AIM corrective to left-leaning Vietnam his- 
tories, although "flawed... does speak for itself." 
Another public television documentary, Cuba: 
In the Shadow of a Doubt, falls prey to 
commie sympathizing, indulging in "misrep- 
resentation," and is finally deemed "calcu- 
lated propaganda." A Firing Line special, The 
Media and 'Harvest of Despair,' however, "is 
true" and "represents] what may have been 
one of the world's greatest examples of 
distorted news." 

Usually in his Times reviews Corry's own 
ideological bias is played down, disguised as 
the voice of (liberal) "objectivity." But when 
he considered Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames 
in the television section of the August 24, 
1986, Sunday edition of the Times, he pro- 
duced some of his most vituperative prose to 
date. Like other work he judges objectionable, 
Corry describes the film as "a vanity produc- 
tion, poorly done." And he goes on to hang 
an argument against federal funding for pub- 
lic television on his loathing of Born in 
Flames — "left-wing sludge." 

Productions like this provide an argument for the 
abolition of Federal financing. Liberal apologists 
for public television pretend the programs don't 
exist. 

...There is an area of inpenetrable fog here. Public 
television believes it has a mandate — although un- 
clear — to present the works of independent film 
makers and producers. But who or what is an 
independent film maker?... 

It's conceivable if nevertheless surprising that 
Corry, who claims detailed knowledge about 



the workings of public television, is ignorant 
of the terms of the 1978 federal public broad- 
casting legislation, which requires that a "sub- 
stantial amount" of CPB's production funds 
be allocated for independent work. Yet, 
Corry's outrage when faced with independent 
work that breaks with stylistic conventions 
and openly engages politics — left, feminist, 
lesbian, or, for that matter, those of the Af- 
rican National Congress or Cuban socialism, 
or... — could be written off as just another 
player in the ideological conflict over cul- 
ture. Could be, that is, if the powerful CPB 
board weren't enlisted in the same ideological 
campaign. 

□ 

Since it's beginnings in the late sixties, public 
television has been presumed to be above 
politics; the public affairs staff at PBS 
grapples endlessly with efforts to achieve an 
elusive balance in its public affairs program- 
ming. In the announcement of PBS's internal 
review of the policies and standards governing 
program selection, PBS president Christensen 
emphasized commitment to "program and edi- 
torial independence." The intent, apparently, 
is to refute censorious voices on the right, but 
the project signals that PBS has been ser- 
iously shaken by opponents of its liberalish 
programming. Even Landau, during her tenure 
as CPB chair, countered accusations that she 
had politicized the board or brought politics 
to bear on the management and policies of the 
corporation. And Landau's critics employ the 
same rhetoric, invoking vague ideals of pre- 
sumably value-free "quality" television. Politics 
here primarily refers to party affiliations — 
Republican or Democrat — deflecting more sub- 
stantial discussions about or conflict over 
public vs. private control of televised infor- 
mation and entertainment. 

CPB has been a political entity since day 
one — as has commercial broadcasting — since 
its conception in the Great Society era to its 
current incarnation as the purveyer of tradi- 
tional values, with tasteful promotions for 
giant businesses. But public broadcasting can't 
so easily cast aside the concept of public 
service that entrepreneurial broadcasters have, 
as Corry points out, left far behind. The 
interest of independent producers, then, in 
public television must be conceived as more 
than a proposition for apolitical diversity, 
but as a political position, in opposition to 
those who use select facts and self-righteous 
accusations of anti-Americanism to deny dis- 
sent in this country. 

It's unlikely that a conservative CPB board 
will apply the findings of its proposed con- 
tent analysis to demand more right-wing doc- 
umentaries, since public television seems an 
anathema to conservative ideologues. And, 
although perhaps not sufficiently patriotic for 
Corry's taste, commercial television and even 
public television supply plenty of public af- 



fairs programs suited to dedicated conser- 
vatives. Think only of Wall Street Week or 
Adam Smith 's Money World. Taking Corry as a 
weathervane, it's probable that the content data 
will become ammunition in monetary warfare, 
intended to eliminate funding for documentaries 
that question official U.S. policy, particularly 
foreign policy, past or present. Dissenters, 
surely, are being put on notice. 

POSTSCRIPT 

As this article was taking shape, the political 
maneuvers of the CPB board suggest a 
harsher assessment of political alignments, 
allegiances, and influences than previous cau- 
tion regarding conspiracy theories allowed. 
Writing in Current, the public broadcasting 
organ, J.J. Yore reported some of the details 
of the November CPB board meeting. He 
related how the new board chair, William Lee 
Hanley invited Sonia Landau to address the 
meeting. Reading from what Yore described 
as a 10-page speech, Landau gave her views on 
controversial public television programs. She 
reminded her audience, "Objectivity and bal- 
ance is the business of this corporation.... 
News is not the issue. The issue is documen- 
taries. We cannot ignore programs such as 
Guatemala: When the Mountains Tremble, 
The Africans, Cuba: In the Shadow of a 
Doubt — and the list goes on.... The public wants 
to know why CPB is so lax in our oversight 
function." If public broadcasting does not 
answer to the "public" Landau has in mind, she 
warned, "There should also be an acknow- 
ledgement that public broadcasting is a bil- 
lion dollar industry capable of functioning 
well without the entanglements and obliga- 
tions connected with federal dollars." 

Landau's chances for reappointment to the 
CPB board evaporated when the Democrats 
won control of the Senate in the last election. 
But "she has remained visibly active in CPB 
politicking nevertheless. And John Corry, 
who publicly traffics his ideas in the pages of 
a prestigious newspaper, isn't far from this 
seat of power either. Landau's paraphrase of 
Corry's specious sentiments couldn't have 
made the point better. Reed Irvine, among 
those observing the CPB board meeting, must 
have been pleased. Why was Landau given 
such prominence in this embattled forum? 
What other echoes can we anticipate? 

Thanks to Andrew Blau and Quynh Thai for 
assistance in researching this article. 

© Martha Gever 1987 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



FESTIVALS 



AUSTRALIAN ODYSSEY: 

THE SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE FILM FESTIVALS 




In June, when we in the northern hemisphere are 
in the full throes of spring fever, winter is be- 
ginning "down under" in Australia. In addition 
to marking the beginning of the cold, June is 
also the season for film festivals, with events in 
both Sydney and Melbourne. As both festivals 
are conveniently timed about two weeks apart, 
filmmakers can take in the sights of Sydney and 
make it to Melbourne with time to spare — provi- 
ding they can afford the formidable cost of air- 
line travel to Australia in the first place. Unfor- 
tunately, because transportation is so expensive, 
the festivals cannot provide travel assistance to 
guests. But those who finagle a way there will 
find appreciative and helpful hosts, excellent 
screening facilities, and large and responsive 
audiences. 

Sydney, headquarters to the main television 
networks, film companies, and cultural insti- 
tutions, is somewhat more cosmopolitan than 
Melbourne, where the nation's business and fi- 
nancial interests are concentrated. Ironically, the 
Melbourne festival has been plagued by finan- 
cial problems and recently was forced to declare 
bankruptcy. However, under the new leadership 
of Santina Musumeci, Melbourne made a drama- 
tic comeback last year, presenting a fine selec- 
tion of films while remaining in the black. De- 
spite the natural competition between the two 
urban centers, the festivals work closely toget- 
her. They schedule screenings to allow a single 
print and possibly the filmmaker to travel first 



to Sydney and then to Melbourne, and they also 
split the expenses of transporting certain films 
invited to both events. Rod Webb, Sydney's 
director, travels the world during part of the 
year, looking for films for his own event, as 
well as ones he can recommend to Melbourne's 
programmers. In February or March, he stops in 
New York City to sequester himself in a hotel 
room with a VCR and a pile of cassettes pro- 
vided by FIVF's Festival Bureau. Most U.S. 
films are shipped to and from Australia by 
FIVF; Sydney picks up the tab while Mel- 
bourne makes a contribution. Webb is known 
for his interest in progressive political films and 
documentaries, which accounts in part for the 
strong presence of U.S. independents at Sydney. 
Filmmakers should remember, however, that 
while Webb passes the word about films to Mel- 
bourne's programmers, the latter inevitably have 
different tastes. Melbourne, for example, has a 
special interest in children's films. So to ensure 
consideration by Melbourne, it's advisable to 
contact that festival directly. 

In 1986, Sydney and Melbourne shared a num- 
ber of independent U.S. films, including Sher- 
man's March, by Ross McElwee; Re-animator, 
by Stuart Gordon; Laurie Anderson's Home of 
the Brave; The Mothers of the Plazo de Mayo, 
by Susana Munoz and Lourdes Portillo; and 
several films by Robert Mugge. Sydney alone 
screened Vladimir Horwitz: The Last Romantic, 
by Albert and David Maysles.Machito, by 



Working Girls screened at the revitalized 
Melbourne Film Festival. 

Courtesy filmmaker 

Carlos Ortiz; American Rebel, by Will Roberts; 
Witness to Apartheid, by Sharon Sopher; and 
Steve Lacy: Lift the Bandstand, by Peter Bull. 
Titles shown exclusively at Melbourne included 
Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style; Working Girls, by 
Lizzie Borden; Mountain Music of Peru, by 
John Cohen; and Kirby Dick's Private Practices. 
Robert Mugge reports that last year, due to an 
unfortunate coincidence, two U.S. warships 
arrived in Sydney during the early part of the 
festival, and one caused a political furor when it 
rammed a boat filled with waiting demon- 
strators. Yet, despite the anti-U.S. tone of street 
demonstrations, festival audiences extended 
warm greetings to U.S. filmmakers and their 
works. 

Both festivals are primarily noncompetitive 
celebrations of film, although Melbourne pre- 
sents an international competition for short 
films. Screening facilities are excellent, includ- 
ing surprisingly good video projection equip- 
ment. Sydney director Webb is unusually visi- 
ble and available, as he introduces nearly every 
screening at both festival cinemas and spends 
the remainder of his time in the hotel's festival 
suite. The staffs at both festivals help filmakers 
set up interviews with the local media and get 
reviews, as well as act as liaisons with film 
buyers, distributors, and local filmmakers. Ef- 
forts are also made to arrange special trips, 
meals, and receptions for interested guests. 

Even assuming the excellence of the hospi- 
tality and facilities offered in Australia, why trav- 
el halfway around the world for a couple of film 
festivals? Australia offers a large English-speak- 
ing audience; it has a thriving circuit of art 
houses; Australian television pays well for inde- 
pendent productions; and the easiest way for a 
film to establish itself there is through these 
much-publicized film festivals. And because 
few foreign filmmakers can attend these distant 
events, a great sense of appreciation is shown to 
those who make the effort. If you do plan to 
attend, its best to let the festival staff know as 
soon as possible. Once there, you might as well 
make a vacation of it. After attending both festi- 
vals, U.S. filmmaker Mugge traveled north to 
the tropical town of Caim to snorkle around the 
Great Barrier Reef; German director Reinhard 
Hauff took off for the outback to experience lite 
far away from civilization; and British director 
Ken McMullcn headed off in search of locations 
and funding for his next project. Although you 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



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are likely to go to Sydney and Melbourne pri- 
marily for the same reason you travel to any 
fyour work — you will likely find myriad ex- 
cuses not to hurry home. 

Thirty-third Sidney Film Festival will be held 
in early June. Formats: 35mm & 16mm. Non- 
competitive. Send SASE for application form to 
Sydney Film Festival, do FIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012, by 
Feb. 1. Sydney director Rod Webb will be in 
New York the first week in March. To submit 
your film for consideration, send 16mm print, 
3/4", or VHS (video for preselection only), with 
completed application and $20 check, made 
payable to FIVF, to address above, by February 
20. Deadline for direct submissions to Sydney is 
end of March. Festival address: Sydney Film 
Festival, Box 25, PO Glebe, N.S.W., Australia 
2037; tel. 02 660 3844; telex 75111. 

Thirty-fifth Melbourne Film Festival will be 
held June 19-29,1987. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
super 8 & video. Deadline for direct submis- 
sions: forms, March 31; prints & tapes, April 
7. Competition for short films under 60 min- 
utes, only. $1J500 prizes in documentary, fic- 
tion, experimental & animation categories; 
$4,000 grand prize. Super 8 & video entries 
must be submitted directly to Melbourne. Con- 
tact Melbourne Film Festival, GPO Box 2760 
EE, Melbourne, 3001, Australia; tel. (03) 663 
2953; telex AA 152613. 

For both festivals, films must have been com- 
pleted in the last 12 months & not have been 
previously shown in respective cities. 



CANNES DO 

The 39th Cannes Film Festival, held May 
8-19, 1986, featured the European premieres of 
five films by U.S. independent directors. Lizzie 
Borden's Working Girls and Spike Lee's She's 
Gotta Have It , selected by Pierre-Henri Deleau 
and Olivier Jahan during screenings in New 
York in March, were featured in the Directors 
Fortnight section. Glen Pitrie's Belizaire The 
Cajun unspooled in the five-picture Un Certain 
Regard section, which also featured Eugene 
Corr's 20th Century release Desert Bloom. Sara 
Driver's Sleepwalk was the sole U.S. entry out 
of seven films selected from 149 titles screened 
in the Critics Week, which highlights first and 
second features in all genres and formats. And 
finally, Jim Jarmusch's second feature, Down By- 
Law, achieved the most prestigious slot, having 
been selected for the 25-film Official Compe- 
tition, making it eligible for the festival's grand 
prize, the Palme d'Or (won by Roland Joffe's 
The Mission). Short films are eligible for a 
separate Palme and are screened in the Official 
Section with the features. Chuck Workman's 
Precious Images was the only U.S. short in the 
festival and was shown out of competition. 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 




The now infamous Nola Darling (Tracy 
Camila Johns) tries to convince Jamie 
Overstreet (Redmond Hicks) that he's her 
one and only in Spike Lee's She's Gotta 
Have It, which screened at Cannes. 

Courtesy Island Pictures 

There are no entry fees for entering Cannes, 
but once accepted, producers' expenses mount. 
Producers are responsible for subtitling, ship- 
ping, transportation, and accomodations. Even 
the most cost-conscious promotional effort in- 
cludes posters, flyers, stills, and press pac- 
kets — and Cannes is attended by some 3,000 
journalists. 

Last year's terror scare was the big story that 
never happened, but pre-festival paranoia did 
reduce the overall U.S. industry presence, giving 
the independents a shot at the media. Even 
though the mini-majors (or major-indies) like 
Cannon and Hemdale dominated the pages of the 
dailies, Pitrie headed up Variety's gossip column 
and Lee managed three mentions in one edition. 
Sam Kitt, Karen Arikian, and Sandra Schulberg 
of the Independent Feature Market pulled off a 
successful cocktail party/conference to promote 
the five U.S. filmmakers — a first for U.S. 
independents. Producer Schulberg also led a cru- 
sade on behalf of the Old Palais, present home 
of the Directors Fortnight, which was slated for 
demolition and replacement by a casino. The 
campaign worked, and Deleau, Jahan, and com- 
pany will have a venue in 1987 for their popular 
selection of independent films. 

To qualify for any section of the festival, a 
film must have its European premiere in 
Cannes. Entry regulations may be obtained from 
the French Film Office, 745 Fifth Ave., New 
York, NY 10151; (212) 832-8860. Screenings 
for the Fortnight take place at the Lorimar 
screening room under the auspices of Ed Ko. An 
invaluable resource for English-speaking guests 
in Cannes is Lucius Barre, an American who 
works in the press office. 

Screenings, press conferences, and parties on 
the beach or in hotel suites can make the fes- 
tival a round-the-clock event. Most of the 
activity is limited to a mile of beach-front 
hotels and cafes (including the famous Carlton 
Terrace) between the Old Palais and its new, 
multi-screen namesake. A few days of travers- 



ing this strip has been known to wear down the 
most resilient. Wend your way up the narrow 
streets behind the action into the old city for a 
change of pace and a spectacular view. And go 
to the Petit Carlton Bar for the very late night 
activity. 

ROBERT AARONSON 

Films can be entered in any and all sections. 
Deadlines vary between March and April, de- 
pending on section. Entry forms are required and 
hotel rooms are booked up to eight months in 
advance. Contact the French Film Office in New 
York, or, for the Official Competition, contact 
International Festival du Film, 71, rue du 
Faubourg Saint Honore, F 75008 Paris; tel. 266 
92 20; telex 65076 F. For Directors Fornight, 
contact Societe de Realisateurs de Film, 215, 
rue de Faubourg Saint Honore, F75008; tel. 
5610166; telex 22064 (ref:13U). For Critics 
Week, contact Semaine International de la 
Critique, 73, rue d'Anjou, F75008 Paris; tel. 
387 36 16; telex 650407. 

Robert Aaronson is assistant director of the 
Artists Sponsorship Program at the the New 
York Foundation for the Arts. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Coco Fusco. Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement, and since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further infor- 
mation before sending prints or tapes. If 
your experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve our 
reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Ann Arbor Film Festival, Mar. 10-15, MI. 185 
films were submitted last yr & half were shown. 
$5000 in prize money divided as follows: $1000 for 
the most promising filmmaker, plus approx. 25 other 
prizes, the number & size of which are determined by 
the judges. Kabir Mohanty took the top prize in '86 
for Eldon Moss. Tour of selected films follows fes- 
tival. Format: 16mm only, optical or silent sound- 
track. Fee: $17. Deadline: Feb. 28. Contact Annette 
Wilson, Director, Ann Arbor Film Festival. Box 
8232, Ann Arbor, MI 48107; (313) 995-5356. 

Asian American International Film Festival. June, 
NYC. Presented by Asian CineVision. Noncompeti- 
tive showcase for Asian & Asian-American directors 
& an introduction to Asian cinema for US audiences. 
Foreign countries represented incl. Japan, Philippines, 
Hong Kong. China, India, Taiwan & Korea. 19 films 
were chosen from 30 submissions. Of those 19, the 
13 Asian-American films toured 15 US cities after 
screenings at Chinatown's Rosemary Theatre. Asian- 
American films incl. Lisa Hsia's Made in China, 
Morakot Piyakesin's Back Home & Ye Sook Rhee's 



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Birth Eye. Asian-American film coordinator Peter 
Chow organizes the event w/ Asian CineVision 
director Marlena Gonzalez. No fee. Format: 16mm & 
35 mm. Deadline: Mar. 15. Contact ACV, 32 E. 
Broadway, New York, NY 10002; (212) 925-8685. 

Athens International Film Festival, May 2-9, OH. 
14th annual event w/ an extraordinary number of entry 
categories: feature narrative, feature documentary, 
educational/informational, animation, autobiographi- 
cal, experimental/structural, experimental/imagist, so- 
cial/political & super 8/young media artists. 40 fea- 
tures were screened in '86 w/ 9 in competition. Golden 
Athena Award winners incl. Trinh T. Minh-Ha for 
Naked Spaces: Living Is Round; Beth Brickell for 
Summer's End, Mira Nair for India Cabaret & Gary 
Moss for Old Dry Frye. Michael Powell was on hand 
to present a retrospective of his work. Also present 
were Manny Kirchheimer & Yvonne Rainer. Deadline: 
mid-March. Format: 16mm, s-8, 8mm (1/2" & 3/4" 
video OK for preselection). Fee: $10-65 depending on 
length. Contact Ruth Bradley, Director, Athens Center 
for Film & Video, Box 388, Athens, OH 45701; 
(614)594-6888. 

Atlanta Film and Video Festival, May 13-17, GA. 
1 1 th annual festival organized by IMAGE Film/Video 
Center, in association w/ High Museum of Art. About 
40 works were shown in '86 out of 250 entries. Cash 
prizes went to Matthew Geller's Everglade City, Seth 
Krasowitz's Make the Dust Fly, Louis Hock's The 
Mexican Tapes & Chip Lord, Branda Miller & 
Antonio Muntadas' video Media Hostages. 1987's film 
judges Loni Ding & Bob Doyle & video judges Skip 
Blumberg & Alison Gregorson will award $4000 in 
prize money for dramatic, experimental, documentary 



& animation. Formats: 3/4", VHS, Beta, s-8 & 
16mm. Fees: $25 for individuals, $135 for production 
companies. Deadline: Feb. 13. Contact IMAGE Film/ 
Video Center, 75 Bennett St., Ste. J2, Atlanta, GA 
30309, attn: Robin Reidy; (404) 352^225. 

Baltimore International Film Festival/Indepen- 
dent Filmmaker Competiton, April 2-26, MD. 
Out of 125 films submitted for the competition at 
the '86 festival, 16 received cash prizes ranging 
from $50 to $300. According to festival director 
Brent Berwager, winners screened at Baltimore 
Museum of Art. A selection goes on to AFI and 
the Smithsonian-Hirshhorn Museum in Washing- 
ton, DC. Enoch Pratt Free Library also purchases 
some festival films. '86 winners included Ken 
Bums' The Statue of Liberty, Karen Agua & Jeanee 
Redmond's Yours for the Taking, Beth Brickell's 
Summer's End, Tony Cookson's Ringers & Steve 
Schechter's The Home Front. Categories: documentary, 
animation, dramatic & experimental, all up to 90 min- 
utes. Format: 16mm only. Fee: $25. Deadline: Jan. 
15 for entry forms, Feb. 2 for films. Contact Helen 
Cyr, BIFF-18, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Audio-Vis- 
ual Dept., 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201; 
(301)685-4170. 

Birmingham International Educational Film and 
Video Festival. Mar. 21-28, AL. 150 prizes awarded 
to best works in 1 2 categories, plus $400 best of film, 
$400 best of video & $1000 best of festival awards. 
Categories: Americana, applied & performing arts, bus- 
iness & industry, early childhood, energy/environ- 
ment, health/physical education, human relations, lan- 
guage arts, math & science, social sciences, the 
atypical & the aged, independent & student produc- 



tions, teacher & career education. Format: 16mm & 
1/2" video only. Deadline: Feb. 1. Fees: Before Jan. 
20, $25 for works up to 30 mintues & $40 for longer 
ones. After January 20, $30 & $50. Contact Margaret 
Miller, Birmingham International Educational Film- 
Video Festival, Alabama Power Company, Box 2641, 
Birmingham, AL 35291-0665; (205) 250-2550. 

San Francisco Art Institute National Film Festi- 
val, Mar. 13-15, CA. The annual student-run show- 
case, now in its 9th year, has established reputation 
for giving "exposure to the best of recently produced, 
artist-made cinema from around the world." Emphasis 
on experimental work & animation. Out of 150 en- 
tries last year, 22 were shown & 12 received awards. 
Number of awards depends on number of entries. 
$1500 in cash & service prizes will be awarded by '87 
festival judges Vincent Grenier, Larry Gottheim & 
Barbara Hammer. Among last year's prize winners 
were Shizuko Fukuyama's Windscape October, Paul 
Glablicki's Film-Wipe-Film, Marjorie Taylor's Stop 
& Guy Shervin's Messages. Deadline: Feb. 6. 
Formats: s-8, 16mm, up to 35 mins. Fee: $15. 
Contact Holly Everill & Ann Wysocki, San Francisco 
Art Institute National Film Festival, 800 Chestnut 
St., San Francisco, CA 94133; (415) 771-7020. 

Seattle International Film Festival, May 14-June 
8, WA. Now in its 1 1th year, this festival prides itself 
on its noncompetitiveness, audience orientation, the 
fest directors' taste in international art cinema & their 
commitment to US documentary tradition. Public 
votes for Golden Space Needle Awards. '86 American 
independent films incl. Mark Rappaport's Chain 
Letters, Glenn Petrie's Belizaire the Cajun, D.A. 
Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus' Dance Black America & 



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3 films by Robert Mugge. Festival hosts "Discovery 
Weekend" to promote independent films w/out distri- 
butors, but all-expenses-paid invites extended to a se- 
lect few. Deadline: Mar. 6. Format: 16mm & 35mm, 
but 35mm preferred (3/4" & 1/2" OK for preselection). 
60 min. minimum for features, 20 min. maximum for 
shorts. No fee. Contact Gary Tucker, Seattle Inter- 
national Film Festival, Egyptian Theatre, 801 E. Pine 
St., Seattle, WA 98122; (206) 324-9996. 

USA Film Festival, Apr. 9-13, Dallas. The 16th an- 
nual event drew on 220 submissions for its short 
film/video competition, which is combined w/ an invi- 
tation-only "discovery showcase" & Hollywood & 
European premieres. $1000 cash prize goes to the 
winner in each category. '86 feature winners were 
Robert Gardner's Forest of Bliss & Bill Sherwood's 
Parting Glances. Maureen Silwood's The Rug took the 
award for animation, Julie Akert's Not Just Garbage 
won for documentary short & Trent Harris' The Orkley 
Kid received the prize for narrative short. Deadline for 
film/video competiton: Feb. 12. For feature selection, 
contact festival ASAP. Format: 35mm, 16mm & 3/4" 
video (1/2" OK for preselection). Shorts up to 40 min. 
accepted. Fee for shorts: $30. Contact Richard 
Peterson, Artistic Director, or Diane Brandon, Pro- 
gram Director, USA Film Festival, 2909-B Canton 
St., Dallas, TX 75226; (214) 744-5400. 

FOREIGN 

Cartagena International Film Festival, June 19- 
26, Colombia. US contact Christiane Roget says the 
recent collaboration between festival management & 
FOCINE, Colombia's film institute, accounts for an 
improvement in the event's organization. Major dis- 
tributors w/ offices in Latin America were on hand, 
together with France's Gaumont (a big festival sup- 
porter, according to Roget) & Impala Films of Spain. 
Noncompetitive video categories at the '87 festival 
will be numerous & varied, says Roget. The '87 festi- 
val will host contemporary African cinema sidebar & 
Glauber-Rocha restrospective. To avoid confusion, 
fest recommends that all invitations & accomodations 
be confirmed in advance in writing. Roget arranges dis- 
count travel pkgs. Deadline: end of March. Format: 
35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4" & 1". US contact is Chris- 
tiane Roget, Cartagena International Film Festival, 
c/o Roget & Associates, 1890 Brickell Ave., Miami, 
FL 33129; (305) 856-1911. Special LA contact is 
Jonathan Samo, 8959 Wonderland Ave., Laurel 
Canyon, CA. In Colombia, contact Victor Nieto, 
Cartagena Film Festival, A. A. 1834, Cartagena, 
Colombia; tel. 42 345. 

Festival of American Independents, July, London. 
Held at National Film Theatre & sponsored by the 
British Film Institute. Programming director Sheila 
Whitaker is seeking fiction & documentary feaures & 
shorts. Deadline: Feb. Format: 16mm & 35mm. 
Submit VHS or 3/4" video for preselection. Contact 
Programme Director, National Film Theatre, South 
Bank, London, SE1 8XT UK; tel. 01^37 4355; 
telex: 27624. 

Latin American Festival, June, London. Program di- 
rector Sheila Whitaker seeks film & video work relat- 
ing to Latin America. Deadline: Jan. Submit VHS or 
3/4" video for preselection. Contact Programme Dir- 
ector, National Film Theatre. South Bank, London, 
SE1 8XT UK; tel. 01^37^1355; telex 27624. 




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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




The Flapper Story, Lauren Lazin's social 
history film, portrays more than the fun and 
frolic of the Roaring Twenties. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Renee Tajima 



What happens when New York playwright 
Edward Albee is transplanted to the backwoods 
of Oklahoma to "make theater"? In A Portrait 
of Albee, filmmaker Mark Brice follows the 
Pulitzer Prize-winning author to Tahlequah, 
Oklahoma, as he directs students in two of his 
one-act plays. Albee, best known forWhose 
Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, has said, "The Amer- 
ican theater is most alive not on Broadway, but 
in regional theaters and on university campus- 
es." Despite the improbable venue of Tahlequah, 
Albee demands professionalism from all his 
students, as he becomes a character in the drama 
both on and off stage. Brice's work-in-progress 
has already been screened as a rough cut at 
Houston's Rice Media Center. A Portrait of Al- 
bee: Mark Brice, 6601 Harbortown #1706, 
Houston, TX 77036; (713) 779-4343. 

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Ron Teach- 
worth stayed home to produce his first feature. 
Going Back, the chronicle of an end-of-inno- 
cence road trip. Set in 1964 to the strains of 
early Beatles music, Going Back follows two 
college-bound youths, Brice and Clee, on a 
summer hitchhiking trip through rural Mich- 
igan. Fired by fantasies of seedy glamour and a 
dog-eared copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, 
the journey ends quietly on the dilapidated farm 



of Jack, a genial handyman. There Clee finds a 
father figure in his host, and Brice finds romance 
with a local farm girl. Four years later the two 
men try to recapture the summer of '64. 
Teachworth, a teacher and graphic artist, invest- 
ed four years and thousands of dollars to make 
Going Back. He cast friends and students and set 
up locations at his parent's hometown of Cass 
City for eight days of shooting in 1982. The 
film was completed with the help of a small 
grant from the Michigan Council on the Arts 
and has since appeared in Detroit area theaters 
and festivals. This month, Going Back will be 
released on home videocassette by Vestron. 
Going Back: RST Productions, 524 Wilcox, 
Rochester, MI 48063; (313) 651-2578. 

The nuclear reactors of the Savannah River 
Plant in Aiken, South Carolina, have been dub- 
bed "four Chemobyls waiting to happen." Three- 
quarters of the nation's most radioactive military 
waste is stored in the deteriorating tanks of the 
nuclear weapons facility there, threatening per- 
manent contamination in the area. Long before 
the devastating accident near Kiev, producer 
Mark Mori began to document the moral and 
environmental implications of weapons produc- 
tion in the southern U.S. Principal photography 
has already been completed on the one-hour 
film. Armed with a $10,000 grant from the 
Beldon Fund, Mori is now in completing editing 
of the project. Building Bombs: Mark Mori, 
Box 5202, Station E, Atlanta, GA 30307; (404) 
627-2485. 

In her new half-hour documentary, Drive-In- 
Blues, Jan Krawitz celebrates the last picture 
show for movie-goers on wheels. Richard Ho- 
lingshead invented the first drive-in in 1933 for 
a nation infatuated by the automobile. For half a 
century, the drive-in served as a mecca for fam- 
ilies and restless teenagers alike. Its popularity 
peaked in 1957, when 5.000 drive-ins lit the 
American roadsides. Today the "passion pit with 
pix" is a thing of the past. Krawitz received 
grants from the Southwest Alternative Media 
Project, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the 
University of Texas at Austin, to document the 
life and decline of the drive-in. Interlaced with 
unusual archival trailers, the film swings be- 
tween camp and nostalgia, featuring the music 
of popular hits like the Beach Boys' "Drive-In" 
and the more obscure sounds of "Take Your 
Girlie to the Movies If You Can't Make Love at 
Home." Drive-In Blues: Jan Krawitz, Direct 
Cinema Ltd., Box 69589, Los Angeles, CA 
90069; (213) 656-4700. 

Traveling through Eritrea under cover of 
darkness in a Land Cruiser, donated by the relief 
project Band Aid, videomaker Yvan Patry led a 
crew to document wartime conditions and relief 
efforts in areas controlled by the Eritrean Peo- 
ple's Liberation Front. Producer Eddie Becker 
and crew improvised the Betacam unit to meet 



the technical demands of shooting covertly and 
at night. The Land Cruiser was modified to pow- 
er a 30 volt light system, and to recharge the 
deck and camera batteries. Because of the danger 
from aerial attack, large solar cell battery char- 
gers were ruled out, but smaller solar cells were 
used to recharge batteries from flashlights, ra- 
dios, tape recorders, and a wireless Iso-tip solder- 
ing gun. The camera was detached from the Beta- 
cam recorder, and Becker remounted the audio 
controls and metering system on the top of the 
deck. The crew later returned under Ethopian 
authority, to document the war from the oppos- 
ing side. Portions of the tape have already been 
broadcast on Canadian television and the CBS 
Nightly News. V.P.S., 1844 Mintwood PL, 
N.W., Washington. DC 20009; (202) 332- 
1000. 

With the aid of a visual arts fellowship from 
the National Endowment for the Arts, Slawomir 
Grunberg is producing a three-part television doc- 
umentary series entitled The Right to 
Die — The Right to Live. The series looks 
at three controversial issues; the "living will" 
document that gives an individual the right to be 
kept off life support equipment, a child with 
AIDS, and abortion rights. Grunberg, a visiting 
assistant professor in the Media Department at 
Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, be- 
gan the project in 1985. The first segment on 
the "living will" has been completed, and 
editing work continues on the Kids with Aids 
program. The Right to Die — The Right to Live: 
Slawomir Grunberg, Webster University, 470 
E. Lockwood, St. Louis, MO 63119; (314) 968- 
6923. 

The Flapper Story, which takes a provoc- 
ative look at the "new woman" ideal of the roar- 
ing twenties, was presented on national public 
television last month by KCET-Los Angeles. 
The film mixes interviews and archival footage 
to trace the historial events that gave shape to 
the figure of the flapper, exploring the ways in 
which flappers rebelled against prevailing social 
mores and considering the contradictions that 
simmered under the surface of this newly won 
independence. Lauren Lazin produced The Flap- 
per Story as part of her masters project at Stan- 
ford University and went on to earn a Student 
Academy Award and a screening at the New 
Directors/New Films series at the Museum of 
Modern Art. The Flapper Story: Cinema Guild, 
1697 Broadway, Ste. 802, New York. NY 
10019; (212) 246-5522. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



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CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independents Classifieds column 
includes all listings tor "Buy • Rent • Sell," 
"Freelancers," & "Postproduction" cate- 
gories. It is restricted to members only. 
Each entry has a 250 character limit & 
costs $15 per issue. Payment must be 
made at the time ot submission. Anyone 
wishing to run a classified ad more than 
once must pay for each insertion & 
indicate the number of insertions on the 
submitted copy. Each classified ad must 
be typed, double-spaced, & worded 
exactly as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be respect- 
ed. These are the 8th of each month, two 
months prior to the cover date, e.g, 
January 8 for the March issue. Make 
check or money order— no cash, 
please— payable to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

For sale: 1/2" Camcorder, Betamovie Beta II format 
consumer camera/recorder. Brand new conditon. 
Half price or best offer. Super-8 package, Sankyo 
XL 420 low light sound camera, Minolta silent 
camera, viewer, guillotine tape splicer. $150/best 
offer. Typewriter, Olympia electric, $50/best offer. 
Call Nancy (212) 757-0499. 

Wanted: Gun Camera, N-9 16mm or equivalent for 
aerial filming. Call (916) 381-6222 or write Box 
244, Sacramento, CA 95802. 

For sale: Metal film racks. 6' tall, 3' wide, holds 
156 16mm films. Cost new: $250-300. Selling for 
$45 each. Cash & carry only. National Film Board 
of Canada (NYC office), (212) 586-5131. 

Super-8 film can look like 16mm on video with our 
transfer system. 8mm, 16mm, slides to 3/4", 1/2", 
VHS, Beta, component, or 1". Special effects, 
slo-mo, freeze frame. Broadcast quality. Super 8 
equipment (Nizo 6080) for rent. 3/4" Sony 
convergence editing. Landy Vision (212) 734-1402. 

For sale: 16mm 6-plate Steenbeck editing table. 
$5000. Call (718) 499-5925. 

Low cost video equipment rental at Technisphere 
Corporation through the Media Alliance ON-LINE 
program. Discounts of 50% available to independent 
producers working on noncommercial media arts 
projects & nonprofit arts organizations. 
Production, exhibition & installation equipment 
available. Media Alliance, c/o WNET, 356 W. 58th 
St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 560-2919. 

For rent/sale: 35mm Editing Equip, incl 2 4-gang 
synchronizers with sound heads, two 2-channel 
squawk boxes, 3 Rivas straight splicers. Mint 
cond., esc. rates for short- or long-term rental. 
Call Steve Brown at (212) 254-3655 or 929^873. 

Vhs editing or I6MM flatbed in convenient 
midtown location. 24 hour access building. Low 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



daily or weekly rates. For long-term rentals we'll 
consider "take-out." Call Josh or Howard for 
more information. (212) 245-5885. 

For sale: Beaulieu R16 w/ 200' mag, 10mm, 25mm, 
50mm, 17.5-70mm, 200 mm, Sync pulse, (2) Batt. 
charger, changing bag & case $700. Nagra III w/ 
Crystal, ATN, Kudelski headsets. Exc. cond. 
$1200. Coherent Communications 4-channel 
MX-80 mixer w/ remote switch, power supply, 
case, $1200. Sususmu, (213) 482-9810. 

For sale: Best offer takes each: Bolex Rex 3 body, 
$675. Beaulieu R16BT body with 60mA 
battery-grip, charger & case, $775. Canon F2. 
17-102mm zoom-lens, $425. Berthiot Lytar F1.8 
25mm lens, $90. Both these C-mount lenses fit 
either body. Also, a Kern Yvars F1.9 13mm lens 
(C-mount for 8mm body), $50. Call (212) 
662-0175. 

Steenbeck for rent: Low rates by the month. 
Delivered to your workspace. Call Octavio, (718) 
855-8366. 

For rent: 16mm editing equipment in your home or 
work space. $375/month includes hi-speed 
Steenbeck six-plate, editing bench with light box, 
rewinds with reels, gang synchronizer & 
squawkbox with viewer, other accessories. Prefer 
long term rental but will welcome other inquiries. 
Jack Levine; 212-580-6267. 



Freelancers 



Video Engineer & Audio Recordist: Trouble- 
shooter. Experienced ENG & studio-style. Docu- 
mentaries, industrials, fashion, music videos. 
Complete Ike-E or Betacam broadcast package 
available. Reasonable rates. Specialty — work well 
with film DPs who are unfamiliar with video. 
Sample reel available. Rebekah Patsch, 
718^99-2668. 

Composer: Get Brooke Halpin to score your next 
film. His list of credits include Academy Award 
winning films. He can compose music in any style 
& enhance the specific mood & character of your 
film. Call (212) 942^1747 & get Brooke Halpin. 

Director of photography with critically acclaimed 
films in the U.S. & Europe. Reels are available for 
documentary as well as narrative work. Full Aaton 
camera package with super 16 gate. My rate will fit 
your budget. Let's talk. (212) 475-1947. 

Camera & production assistants: We are making 
an independent feature & need work to support this 
habit. Please call Jack Levine at (212) 580-6267 & 
Lisa Maya Knauer at (212) 533-3032. Also Aaton 
package available for rent, $250/day with camera 
assistant included (includes Angenieux 9.5-57mm 
HEC). 

Locations offered: If you are doing a film, 
commercial or documentary & need the ideal 
location, contact the location experts. "Get the 
Location You've Always Wanted." Location 



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dramatic and documentary films that 
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For more information, rental and sales- 

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48 Q Street, N.E. 
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(202) 529-0220 



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THE INDEPENDENT 23 



MONTHLY REVIEW PRESS 

is looking for political VHS cassettes of high quality to 
distribute, on a non-exclusive basis, through its catalogs, to 
specifically targeted college markets. Subject must be 
appropriate to Monthly Review Press and be able to be 
priced under $30 to $35. Please contact: 
Judy Ruben 

Monthly Review Foundation 
155 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011 




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Masters, 2815 31st Place, NE, Washington, DC; 

(202) 832-4265. 

Postproduction 

Broadcast quality video editing with special 
effects. $35/hour hands-on rate. Sony BVU-800 
series editing decks, Convergence 90 controller, 
fades, slo-mo, freeze-frames, Chyron graphics. 
With editor, $55/hour plus graphics. Convergence 
training, 3/4" & VHS transfer-duplications, 
$ 1 5/half-hour, in-house voice over, location 
production packages. Lincoln Center area. HDTV 
Enterprises, (212) 874-4524 

16mm flatbeds for rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent 
in your work space or fully equipped downtown 
editing room with 24-hour access. Cheapest rates in 
NYC for independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster 
Productions, (212) 873-4470. (2/6) 

Hdtv enterprises, introduces broadcast quality 3/4" 
editing & special effects — freeze frame & slo-mo, 
at $50/hour w/editor or $30/hour hands on. 
BBU-800/820 decks, TBC, fades, time code all 
included. Lincoln Center area, experienced editor. 
Call Hank Dolmatch, HDTV, (212) 874-4524. 

Negative matching. 16mm, super 16, 35mm cut for 
regular printing, blowup, or video transfer. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders & Yvonne 
Rainer. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One 
White Glove, Tim Brennan, (718) 897-4145, NYC. 

Negative matching: Fast & accurate at reasonable 
rates. 16mm, 35mm or selects for video transfers, 
film editing room available. Coda Film, (212) 
265-1 191. Andre. 

Film titles service: Camera ready art and/or filming 
of titles. Cards, crawls, many typefaces & design 
consultation. Very fast service & reasonable rates. 
Please call Robin Kormos (212) 460-8921. 

Production, postproduction & equipment rentals.- 
Broadcast quality from $350/day. Broadcast, 
industrial & consumer level projects. Ikegami 730 
A, Sony BVU 110 w/time code. Betacam also 
available. Brand new Sony 5850/5800/RM440 
off-line editing system. Everything very 
negotiable. East Village location. Professional, 
flexible & friendly. (212) 254-0955. 



INSURE YOUR 
EQUIPMENT 

With membership in AIVF, you can in- 
sure your valuable equipment and protect 
yourself from loss and damage to rented 
equipment. 

• Rate is $2.50 per $100 of value 

• Minimum premium $250 

• $250 deductible per occurence 

• Automatic $2,500 coverage of rented/ 
leased equipment 

For an application, write Ethan Young, 
Membership Services, AIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



NOTICES 




Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The Inde- 
pendent reserves the right to edit for 
length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be respected. 
These are the 8th of the month, two 
months prior to cover date, e.g., January 
8 for the March issue. Send notices to 
Independent Notices, FIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, New York, NY 10012. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION seeks a variety 
of short subject videotapes & films under 15 mins 
for showcase series produced in Broooklyn 5 
times/yr. Contact Laziza, Box 154, New York, NY 
10012; (718) 797-31 16. 

ATTN: Municipal cable programmer looking for 
interesting videos, 28 mins. in length for cablecast 
series. Send 3/4" copy w/ brief history to Channel L 
Working Group Inc., 51 Chambers St., Rm. 532, 
New York, NY 10007. 

Innovative home video magazine seeks short films 
& videos. Comedy, video art & documentary shorts. 
1-8 mins. considered. Send VHS or 3/4" cassette 
only to Overview, 50 N. La Cienega Blvd. #204, 
Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Incl. SASE for tape 
return. Allow 6-8 wks for response. 



Intimate technologies: UCVideo Electronic Arts 
Gallery will present "Intimate Technologies," a 
group exhibition of works that depend upon the 
human presence for their activation. Curated by 
Barbara O'Brien. Works may incorporate wall 
and/or floor area, but may not exceed the use of 48 
sq. ft. of floor space. No min. space requirement. 
Exhibition will run from Apr. 4-25, 1987. 
Participants will be awarded honorariums of $150. 
Deadline for proposals: Jan. 15. Contact UCVideo, 
425 Ontario St., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414; 
(612) 627-4444. 

New England foundation for the arts seeks 
videotapes & films for the 4th installment of 
"Mixed Signals," a series of 4 half-hour programs 
distributed to cable TV operators in New England 
during spring 1987. Max. length 28 mins. 

Distributor seeking films: Representative of small 
& third world countries seeks completed, feature 
length films: action/adventure, suspense, thriller, 
murder mystery & mild horror. Contact JED Int'l 
Ltd., 701 Seventh Ave., Ste. 9W, New York, NY 
10036; (212) 330-0748. 



Conferences • 
Workshops 



Newark mediaworks begins its 2nd season of 
inexpensive video classes & training workshops: 
"Introduction to Video Production & Video as a 
Tool To Save Time & Money," Jan. 13-Feb. 3, 



1987; "How Media Works: Animation By 
Independent Producers," Jan. 15, 1987. Also, 
low-cost rentals of quality video equipiment to 
individuals & community groups. Contact Newark 
MediaWorks, Box 1716, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 
690-5474. 

Documentary film program at the Anthropology 
Film Center, spring semester Jan. 12-May 5, 1987. 
Carroll Williams' Production Lab provides 
technical & theoretical bases for 16mm film 
production. Also advanced seminars & tutorials. 
Cost of 9-mo. program, $7500. Tuition incl. books, 
materials, processing & use of equip. Contact 
Admissions, Documentary Film Program, Box 493, 
Santa Fe, NM 87504-0493; (505) 983-4127. 

Presenter training & travel fund: The Mid- 
Atlantic States Arts Consortium will now provide 
subsidies to performing arts presenters to attend 
regional workshops, conferences & showcases 
outside the presenter's state. Eligibility: nonprofit, 
based in the mid-Atlantic region & present at least 
3 performing arts touring events during the year. 
Presenters may apply for half of the travel & 
registration costs up to $200, no later than 8 wks 
before the event. Contact Mid Atlantic States Arts 
Consortium, 11 E. Chase St., Ste. 1A, Baltimore, 
MD 21202; (301) 539-6656. 

Collective for living cinema offers 3 sessions per 
yr (fall, winter, spring) of low-cost, hands-on 
beginning & intermediate workshops in 16mm & 
super 8 film production techniques. Classes meet 




EAST-WEST FILM JOURNAL 

A response to the recognition that film can uniquely enrich understanding between peoples and cultures at both 
the popular and scholarly levels. 

IN THE FIRST ISSUE, WINTER 1986: 



Dudley Andrew 
Donald Richie 
William Rothman 
Michitaro Tada 
Shao Mujun 



SPECIAL FIRST YEAR CHARTER SUBSCRIPTION RATES: 



Charter rates 


Regular rates 


$12.00 


$15.00 


$24.00 


$30.00 



Film and Society: Public Rituals and Private Space 

Viewing Japanese Film: Some Considerations 

Hollywood Reconsidered: Reflections on the Classical American Film 

The Destiny of Samurai Films 

Chinese Film Amidst the Tide of Reform 
Wimal Dissanayake Art, Vision, and Culture: Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy Revisited 
John Chariot From Ape-Man to Space-Baby: 2001, An Interpretation 

John Tulloch Responsible Soap: Discourses of Australian TV Drama 

TO ORDER: Send check or money order. VISA and MasterCard also accepted (include acct. no., exp. date, and signature). 



Individuals 
Institutions 

Single copies: Individuals $8.00; Institutions $16.00. 



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lighting, sound recording techniques, editing & 
optical printing. Professional instruction. For more 
information & brochure, call (212) 925-3926. 



Resources • Funds 

Southeast media fellowship awards: Production 
grants of up to $5000 for new works or works-in- 
progress & Equipment Access Grants made avail, 
from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Eligi- 
bility: ind. film & videomakers living in 10-state 
region of AL. FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN 
& VA. Deadline: Feb. 2. Contact SEMFP, c/o 
Appalshop, Box 743, Whitesburg, KY 41858. 

South Carolina arts commission grant deadline for 
Community Organizations: January 15, 1987. 
Contact SCAC, 1800 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 
29201. 

Corporation for public broadcasting Open 
Solicitations deadlines: Jan. 9, 1987 & May 1, 
1987. Contact CPB, Program Fund, 1111 16th St., 
NW, Washington, DC 20036. 

Film bureau: Grants avail, to nonprofit NYS-based 
organizations for state exhibition programs. 
Supports a wide variety of programs, from annual 
film fests to special screenings at local libraries, 
galleries & community centers. Matching funds of 
up to $300 avail, for film rentals & up to $200 per 
speaking engagement for presentations by 
filmmakers, producers, directors, technicians & 
scholars. Priority given to organizations showing 
works by independent filmmakers and/or films not 
ordinarily avail, to the public. Deadlines: Jan. 15, 
June 15, Aug. 15. Contact Film/Video Arts, 817 
Broadway, New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 673- 
9361. 

Visual artists fellowships for 1987 will be 
awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts 
in the New Genres category, which incl. video. 
Deadline: Jan. 15, 1987. Contact Visual Arts 
Program/Fellowship Guidelines, NEA, 1100 
Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20506; 
(202) 682-5448. 

Children's programming: The Program Fund & 
Education Unit of the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting seeks proposals to plan a "highly 
innovative approach to weekend children's 
programming." Submissions should describe 
research & planning activities necessary to design a 
new programming effort targeted at children 6-12 
yrs for probable use by public TV stations. 
Independent producers, & public TV stations & 
agencies may submit proposals. Deadline: Jan. 16, 
1987. Contact Pat King. Operations Mgr., Program 
Fund, CPB, 1111 Sixteenth St., NW, Washington, 
DC 20036. 

Retirement research foundation Nat'l Media 
Awards for 1987 will now be administered by the 
Center for New Television. Cash prizes offered to 
outstanding films, videotapes & TV programs on 
issues related to aging. Deadline for entries: Feb. 1, 
1987. Contact Nat'l Media Awards, CNTV, 11 E. 
Hubbard, Chicago, IL 6061 1. 



organizations for up to $1000 in matching funds. 
Deadline: Mar. 1 1987. Contact Estelle Verte, 
Grants Coordinator, Rhode Island Council on the 
Arts, Mini-Grant Program, (401) 277-3880. 

New york state council on the arts: Proposal 
deadline for all programs, incl. Film, 
Television/Media & Special Arts Services is March 
1. Contact NYSCA, 915 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10010. 

Third world producers project: The Film News 
Now Foundation provides 1-on-l consultations in 
all aspects of film & video production, fundraising, 
distribution, etc. Priority is media by people of 
color, also women & producers of social issue 
media. Limited number of fiscal sponsorships 
offered. Send written project description to Renee 
Tajima (docs, video) or Christine Choy (dramatic). 
Film News Now, 335 W. 38th St., 5th fl.. New 
York, NY 10018; (212) 971-6061. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

Independent producer/director looking for 
feature-length script. Comedy or love story, rural 
backdrop preferred w/ gay leads. Not interested in 
erotica scripts or coming out stories. P.o.v.s 
desired. Simple plot w/ extensive character 
development. Send treatment or script to Centaur 
Prod., Box 504, 3078 Westwood Plaza, Los 
Angeles, CA 90024. 

Artists residencies: 1-2 week residencies avail. 
Incl. use of facilities, AV equipment, housing & 
stipend. Deadline: Jan. 30, 1987. For app. write 
Real Art Ways, Box 3313, Hartford, CT 06103. 

New image processing air : Film/Video Arts 
announces a new artist-in-residency program in 
image processing. Artists will be awarded 1-3 wks 
access to F/VA's Video Synthesis Studio & Sandin 
Image Porcessor at no charge. Applicants should 
have previous experience in related techniques. 
Those unfamiliar w/ F/VA's studio will be trained 
as" part of their residency. Apps. accepted on an on- 
going basis. Residencies will take place in 3 cycles: 
winter, spring & fall. Write F/VA, 817 Broadway, 
New York, NY 

Technical intern sought for ongoing weekly event. 
Send resumes to Laziza Videodance & Lumia 
Project, Box 154, New York, NY 10012; (718) 797- 
3116. 

Wanted: DP for low budget feature film shot in 
16mm & b/w on location in western MA. Send 
resume to Open Circle Prods, Box 1155, 
Northampton, MA 01061. 

Tenure track faculty positions: The Univ. of 
Wisconsin is soliciting apps. for 2 tenure-track 
faculty positions w/ research & teaching covering 
theory & social cultural effects of the media or 
media institutions & history; Asst. prof, in 
Telecommunications in the area of media prod. App. 
deadline: Jan. 15. Send inquiries & apps. to Joseph 
N. Cappella, Dept. of Communication Arts, 6110 
Vilas Hall, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 
53706. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



Call for projects: Audio artists are invited to 
apply for studio prod, time to complete a new 
work. Up to 12 residencies avail., which incl. access 
to prof, audio studio, full time engineer, tape & 
other materials needed for project. Radio projects 
welcome. Deadline: Jan. 10, 1987. Write Carol 
Parkinson, Harvestworks, AIR Program, 16 W. 
22nd St., New York, NY 10010; (212) 206-1680. 

The asia society seeks films for upcoming series of 
docs & shorts on Asia & Asian Americans during 
March. Contact Somi Roy, Film Program 
Coordinator, Asia Society, 725 Park Ave., New 
York, NY 10021; (212) 288-6400. 

Editor: Highly experienced editor needed for 
promotional sales & industrial programs. Must 
have 5 yrs experience & demo reel to show. Call 
(212)864-5166. 

Wanted: Man to teach basic video to imprisoned 
youth. PT paid position that will incl. video 
instruction, asst. theater & circus arts instruction 
& adm. activities. Possibility of work on video 
docs. Developmental positon w/ many potential 
opportunities. Resumes to Sidewalks of NY 
Productions, Box 968, Old Chelsea Sta., New 
York, NY 10113. 

Positions available at Real Art Ways, a New 
England regional center for new & experimental 
works. PT position for gallery preparation & FT 
music curator. Write to Director, Real Art Ways, 
Box 3313, Hartford, CT 06103. 

Publications • Software 

Taking charge: Management & Marketing for the 
Media Arts. Workbook designed for small & mid- 
sized organizations & ind. producers. Practical info 
on marketing, direct mail, promotion, press, time 
management, organizational development & 
fundraising. Price: $25, nonmembers; $15, 
members; plus $2.50 postage & handling. Send 
checks, payable to Media Alliance, c/o WNET, 356 
W. 58th St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 560- 
2919. 

Trims & Glitches 

Kudos to Benajmin Shapiro, whose radio series The 
Independent Eye: American Independent Filmma- 
kers features profiles of Wayne Wang, Les Blank, 
Maureen Gosling, Julia Reichert & James Kleinhas, 
aired on about 70 public radio stations this year & 
has received an award from the Nat'l Federation of 
Community Broadcasters. 

Congratulations to Steve Okazaki, 1 of 3 winners 
of the 1986 James D. Phelan Award in Filmmaking. 

El Salvador media project, an organization of 
Salvadoran media activists in the United States, is 
calling for contributions to support postproduction 
of the Sistema Radio Venceremos (El Salvador) 
film Look At My People, How They Struggle. El 
Salvador Media Project, 335 W. 38th St., 5th fl., 
New York, NY 10018. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1987 



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THE INDEPENDENT 27 



LEO DRATFIELD 
1918-1986 

A pioneer of independent film distribution 
and a tireless organizer of the community, 
Leo Dratfield died on November 22. For 
nearly 40 years, Leo fought to bring inde- 
pendent film into theaters, public schools, 
and libraries. His company Contemporary 
Films was one of the first to distribute 
student films, including the early work of 
Shirley Clarke, Martha Coolidge, John and 
Faith Hubley and Martin Scorcese. Count- 
less filmmakers benefited from his en- 
couragement and kindness, as well as his 
organizational efforts. At the time of his 
death he had recently been elected to 
AIVF's Board of Directors. We will miss 
him. 



FESTIVAL ENTRY 

AIVF's welcomes our new Festival Bureau 
director, Kathryn Bowser, former assistant 
director of the Mozambique Film Project and 
most recently, administrative director for the 
United Nations Mission of the Republic of 
Vanuatu. With experience in both film pro- 
duction and international diplomacy, she joins 
our staff uniquely qualified to help inde- 
pendents through the travails of the festival 
circuit. She'll also be contributing to the 
"Festivals" column in The Independent and 
handle AIVF's Information Services. 



THE APPLE OF OUR EYE 

This issue of The Independent, the first num- 
ber in our tenth volume, is the first to have 
been produced on Macintosh computers. Hav- 
ing been introduced to word-processing last 
spring, The Independent's publisher and editor- 
ial staff quickly realized the advantages of 
using computers in publishing. Inspired both 
by advances in software for graphics and lay- 
out and David Leitner's article on the myriad 
applications of Macintosh computers in our 
June/July 1986 issue, "A Macintosh Primer," 
we made the leap to diskettes and mice, laser 
fonts and desk accessories, Microsoft Word 
and Pagemaker in November. We have been 
admirably guided through the intricacies of 
programs and systems by our new art director 
Christopher Holme. Having weathered the in- 
evitable experiments and mistakes made in 
producing this first issue electronically, we 
hope that AIVF members and other readers of 
The Independent enjoy the fruits of our labor. 



AIVF/FIVF THANKS 

The Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers and the Foundation for Indepen- 
dent Video and Film provide a variety of 
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producer community, including publication of 
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vision; Morgan Guaranty Trust Company; 
Movielab Video; National Endowment for 
the Arts; New York State Council on the 
Arts; New York State Governor's Office for 
Motion Picture & Television Development; 
Orion Classics; Rockamerica; TVC Image 
Technology; Uptown, Manhattan's Movie- 
channel; Valley Filmworks; the Walter 
Reade Organization; WNET/Thirteen. 



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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INDEPENXNr 



MARCH 1987 
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 2 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 
Art Director: 
Advertising: 



National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Debra Goldman 
Renee Tajima 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Patricia Thomson 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Ernest Larsen 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
1 13 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), 
a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of 
video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership 
in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independent and 
the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part 
with public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes 
unsolicited manuscripts. Manuscripts 
cannot be returned unless a stamped, self- 
addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or 
damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. 

Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1987 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business man- 
ager; Raina Fortlnl, administrative assistant; Sol 
Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator; Debra Goldman, Short Film Showcase 
administrative assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Joyce Bo- 
linger (chair). Robert Richter (president), Howard 
Petrick (vice president), Robin Reidy (secretary), 
Adrianne Benton, Christine Choy (treasurer), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand, Richard Lorber, Tom Luddy, 
Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), 
Steve Savage. Brenda Webb, Barton Weiss, John 
Taylor Williams. 



CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 4 Off-Off-Off Cinema: West German Super 8 

by Karen Rosenberg 

1 8 The Good, the Bad, the Forgettable: 
The Influence of Film Archives 

by Edward Ball 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Black Cinema Group Forms in Bay Area 

by Mia Amato 

The Wonderworks World of Disney 

by Debra Goldman 

Leo Draff ield: 1918-1986 

by Lucinca Furlong 

David Maysles: 1933-1987 

by Patricia Thomson 

Raising the Ante 

by Renee Tajima 

Writers Guild Fellowships 
Sequels 

8 LEGAL BRIEF 

Stress Factors: Understanding the New Tax Law 

by Berenice Reynaud 

22 CAN THIS PRODUCTION BE SAVED? 

by Debra Goldman 

23 FESTIVALS 

The Margaret Mead Film Festival 

by Gordon Hitchens 

In Brief 

27 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

29 SUMMARY OF AIVF/FIVF BOARD 
MEETING MINUTES 

30 CLASSIFIEDS 

31 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 



COVER: The Scarlet Empress , Paramount Pictures' 1934 rendition of Catherine the Great's 
rise to power, directed by Josef von Sternberg and strarring Marlene Deitrich as the 
provincial German princess who became "Empress of all the Russias," is one of the 36,000 
plus films now housed in the Film and Television Archive at the University of California, Los 
Angeles. In "The Good, the Bad, the Forgettable: The Influence of Film Archives," Edward 
Ball considers the complex role these institutions perform in determining cinematic history 
—in terms of policy as well as economics. Photo: courtesy UCLA Film and Television 
Archive. 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



BLACK CINEMA GROUP FORMS 
IN BAY AREA 




Picture This hosted the West Coast premiere 
of Willy Rameau's film Lien de Parente (Next 
of Kin), the story of a French villager in 
conflict with his streetwise black grandson. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



San Francisco's growing community of black 
filmmakers and video independents has a new 
organization, Picture This, formed last Sep- 
tember as a consortium of "commercially 
oriented" black filmmakers, producers, screen- 
writers, and screen technicians in the Bay 
Area. 

Documentary producer Spencer Moon (Five 
Days in July) says the group formed out of 
the needs and frustrations of black film- 
makers needing help in finding exhibition and 
distribution outlets for their work. "We 
know there is a need for product, particularly 
with cable and video cassettes," Moon says. 
"It's a matter of getting into the pipeline; net- 
working is vital." 

The group's first project was to host the 
West Coast premiere of a French film. Lien 
de Parent (Next of Kin) at San Francisco's 
York Theatre last November. Moon said he 
"networked" the screening through Floyd 
Webb, one of the founders of Chicago's Black 
Light Film Festival, who recently moved to 
San Francisco. Black Light had given Lien de 
Parente its national debut early in 1986, but 
the film remains without a U.S. distributor, 
despite the fact that it stars the celebrated 

2 THE INDEPENDENT 



French actor Jean Marais in the role of a 
crusty country farmer who discovers that his 
only grandson is black. 

"For a first event, the film was perfect for 
us," Moon says. "It was produced in France 
by a black filmmaker born in Martinique, and 
it's based on an American novel." Director 
Willy Rameau was flown to California to 
speak and answer questions about the produc- 
tion and meet with possible distributors. "He 
was very encouraged that a group of black 
filmmakers in San Francisco were reaching 
out to him," says Moon. 

Picture This has continued its international 
activities through the winter, with Moon co- 
curating an exhibition in Germany of 15 films 
by Bay Area and U.S. black filmmakers that 
screened as part of a cinema series presented in 
February by Berlin's Fountainhead Dance 
Theater. Many of the works sent to Berlin 
appeared in the Black Cinema Series of the San 
Francisco Film Festival, also co-curated by 
Moon and notable as the debut screening of 
Spike Lee's 1986 hit feature She's Gotta Have 
It. 

On the local scene, Moon says the group 
plans to collaborate on producing a short 
film, while working out the "organizational 
parameters" of a growing membership. For 
now, membership is restricted to black film 
professionals, but those interested in making 
contact with their colleagues need not be 
from the Bay Area. For more information. 



contact Picture This, 766-1/2 Hayes Street, 
San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 864-2941. 

MIA AMATO 



THE WONDERWORKS 
WORLD OF DISNEY 

In what may mark the beginning of a trend in 
public TV, Wonderworks, the family-oriented 
dramatic series, has struck a five-year deal 
with the Disney Channel to share and 
coproduce programming. For Disney, a pay 
cable service received by three million view- 
ers on 450 cable systems, the deal provides 14 
titles that have already appeared on the three- 
year-old PTV series, U.S. premiere rights to 
the upcoming sequel to the Canadian saga 
Anne of Green Gables, as well as future 
productions, and domestic home video dis- 
tribution rights. For Wonderworks the agree- 
ment will provide more of that ever-scarce 
public television resource, production capital. 

According to William Lynn Wallace, 
Wonderworks project manager at WQED, 
which heads public television's children's pro- 
gramming consortium consisting of KCET- 
Los Angeles, KCTA-Minneapolis/St. Paul, 
WETA-Washington, D.C., and SCETV-South 
Carolina, the agreement is the first instance 
of a long-term co-production agreement 
between PTV and commercial television. 
"There have been one-shot deals at American 
Playhouse that have mixed public television 
money with commercial investment," 
Wallace said. "A long-term deal like this can 
only happen if both parties have the ability to 
benefit, when both walk away a winner. In 
this case, Disney and Wonderworks have the 
same production philosophy, the same genre 
in common. That makes for a good rela- 
tionship." 

Wallace insisted that the deal would not 
affect the kinds of programming offered on 
Wonderworks, which has won almost two 
dozen programming awards and ranks as the 
highest-rated dramatic series on public tele- 
vision. "We're still looking for stories with 
strong characters, youthful protagonists, 
rights of passage." Nor would production be 
limited to projects developed in-house by the 
two entities. "We're very open to independent 
producers. As in the past, we'll look at 
shows on a case-by-case basis." He anticipates 
no problems with producers over assigning 
home video rights exclusively to Disney, ex- 
plaining, "We've only assigned those rights 

MARCH 1987 




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for productions we fully financed or those for 
which we have contractual authority to do so." 
Given the seemingly perennial efforts of the 
Reagan administration to cut public television 
subsidies and the hostility toward government 
financing of PTV often expressed by the Cor- 
poration for Public Broadcasting's still influ- 
encial ex-chair Sonia Landau, the Disney- 
Wonderworks "experiment" will no doubt be 
watched carefully by other system producers. 
"Will it happen again?" Wallace asked rhe- 
torically. "People will be looking. If this ar- 
rangement continues to be as successful as it's 
been in its initial phase, I can see others adopt- 
ing the approach as a way to get money." 

DEBRA GOLDMAN 



LEO DRATFIELD: 1918-1986 

Leo Dratfield, the pioneer distributor of 
16mm film to nontheatrical markets, died of 
liver cancer on November 22 in New York 
City. He was 68 years old. For over 35 years, 
Dratfield was a tireless supporter of many 
activities that furthered the independent film 
movement. Born in 1918 in New York City, 
Dratfield studied briefly at New York Uni- 
versity's School of Journalism and worked for 
Brandon Films. At age 18 he became branch 
manager of the company's Albany office, 
where he booked sound/slide presentations to 
film clubs and libraries upstate and, in the 
summer months, distributed films to resorts in 
the Catskills and Adirondacks. 

After being turned down for military service 
in World War II, he moved to Indianapolis to 
work for the RCA Corporation, which, under 
contract to the U.S. Signal Corps, made train- 
ing films for the armed forces. Later he did 
postproduction work for the Office of War 
Information and set up mobile units for the 
campaign in Africa. It was there that 
Dratfield met and worked with many of the 
directors and producers who later moved suc- 
cessfully into careers in the television and film 
industries. 

Until the mid- 1940s, the educational film 
market consisted of "sponsored films," pro- 
duced primarily by government agencies and 
corporations. Excited by the explosion of inde- 
pendent 16mm filmmaking in the U.S. and 
Europe and aware of the potential education 
market, Dratfield set out to promote and dis- 
tribute this kind of work to the burgeoning 
nontheatrical market. After acquiring in 1946 
the Bureau of Communications Research, a 
company specializing in distributing sponsored 
films on fire safety, Dratfield, with his part- 
ners Rudi Kammerling and Jim Britain, 
bought the British company Contemporary 
Films in 1951. Through Contemporary, Drat- 
field was the first to introduce important short 
an feature-length European films to U.S. au- 
diences, largely at libraries, colleges, and small 
theaters. He distributed student films by now- 



famous directors, such as Roman Polanski's 
Two Men and a Wardrobe and Martin Scor- 
sese's The Big Shave, classic shorts such as 
Alain Resnais' Night and Fog, and animated 
films by Emily and Faith Hubley. 

Dratfield became a fixture at European 
festivals and forged links between the U.S. and 
European film communities. By the early 
1960s, the Contemporary Films catalogue had 
become a Bible for film librarians and edu- 
cators nationwide. At Dratfield's suggestion, 
the Educational Film Library Association re- 
vived the defunct Golden Reel Film Festival, 
which had been the first and only showcase 
for new 16mm films, renamed the American 
Film Festival in 1959. 

In the late sixties, Contemporary Films was 
sold to McGraw-Hill Films, and eventually 
most of the Contemporary collection was elim- 
inated in favor of business-oriented films. 
Dratfield then formed Phoenix Films with 
Heinz Gelles and Barbara Bryant in 1973, but 
later withdrew from that enterprise. Since the 
late seventies,\Dratfield acted as consultant 
for First Run Features, Lucerne Films, and 
Films Inc., where he founded and edited its 
Kaleidoscope Review. At the time of his death 
he was president of the New York Film/Video 
Council and a board member of the Asso- 
ciation of Independent Video and Film- 
makers. Perhaps his best remembered ac- 
complishments, however, were his Sunday 
brunches, a ritual famous in the New York 
independent film community. 

On October 23, 1986, in a testament to his 
warmth and generosity, over 400 people at- 
tended a salute to Dratfield at the Museum of 
Modem Art. On November 13, the Donnell 
Media Center held a special screening of Drat- 
field's favorite films from the Contemporary 
collection, including Shirley Clarke's Bridges- 
Go-Round, Jim Henson's Time Piece, and 
John Korty's Language of Faces. 

LUCINDA FURLONG 



DAVID MAYSLES: 
1933-1987 

David Maysles, who with his brother Albert, 
pioneered a new form of film documentary 
they called "direct cinema," died of a stroke 
on January 3, 1987. He was 54 years old. 

The Maysles brothers were among the first 
filmmakers to explore the use of portable, 
sync sound equipment developed in the early 
1960s. Rejecting the illustrated lecture for- 
mat then current among documentaries, the 
Maysles used only sound-on-film, never voice- 
over narration. They never interviewed, 
posed questions to their subjects, or shot re- 
takes, choosing to observe rather than direct 
in an effort to more closely approach "the 
truth." Also developing a more observational 
style of documentary during the same period 



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were Richard Leacock, Robert Drew, and D. 
A. Pennebaker, with whom Albert Maysles 
worked on Primary (1960), widely considered 
the first direct cinema film made in the U.S. 

Among the Maysles' best-known documen- 
taries are Salesman (1968), which follows the 
lives of four door-to-door Bible salesmen; 
Gimme Shelter (1970), on the Rolling Stones' 
U.S. tour that culminated with a murder at 
Altamont; and Grey Gardens (1976), on Edith 
and Edie Bouvier Beale, the eccentric aunt 
and cousin of Jacqueline Onassis who lived in 
a decaying East Hampton mansion. 

At the time of David Maysles' death, the 
brothers had several films in progress, includ- 
ing two feature-length documentaries. Fellow 
Passengers, about the riders of long-distance 
trains, and a film on the Maysles family. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 



RAISING THE ANTE 

Frustrated by a lack of concrete results in its 
meeting with the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting, representatives of the Coalition 
of Independent Public Broadcasting Producers 
have asked the Program Fund to respond by 
January 30 to several proposals for step-up 
funds and more production money for inde- 
pendents. The request came on December 10 
at the regular meeting of the Coalition and 
Program Fund staff. Attending on behalf of 
the Coalition were David Bolt (BAVC, San 
Francisco), Frank Blythe (Native American 
Broadcasting Consortium, Lincoln, Nebraska), 
Deborah Lefkowitz (Boston Independent Film 
Distributors, Boston), Mark Mori (Image, 
Atlanta), Gordon Quinn (Kartemquin, 
Chicago), John Reilly (Global Village, New 
York), and chair Lawrence Sapadin (AIVF, 
New York). The Program Fund staff included 
director Ron Hull, deputy director Gene Katt, 
associate directors Donald Marbury, Jennifer 
Lawson, and Joshua Darsa, operations 
manager Pat King, and Linda Dean, assistant 
operations manager. 

The Coalition's agenda focused on the recent 
trend at CPB. As public television thinks 
more and more in terms bigger productions, 
bigger names, and series formats, smaller 
independents producing single programs are 
getting squeezed out. As Lawson, associate di- 
rector of drama and arts programs pointed 
out, PBS's schedule is aimed increasingly at 
"strands" of programming — read "series." 
WGBH-Boston's recently proposed new 
"strand," The American Experience history 
series, and the $24-million CPB/PBS Chal- 
lenge Fund will undoubtedly bolster the future 
for this programming stragegy. Even the Open 
Solicitations process — originally conceived to 
counterbalance station consortia program- 
ming — increasingly goes to funding series. To 
protect the interests of independent produc- 
tions, in light of these changes, the Coalition 



set three proposals on the table before the 
Program Fund: 

Open Solicitations: Commit at least 
$500,000 (later revised to $1 -million) in new 
Open Solicitations money in FY 1988, with a 
request for proposals directed specifically to 
new series formats for independent produc- 
tion. 

The American Experience: That the 
Program Fund send a letter to WGBH stating 
CPB's policy requirement that WGBH involve 
independents in the planned serie, specifically, 
that the selection of producers be diverse and 
not limited to those previously associated with 
WGBH, and that WGBH form an advisory 
committee drawn from the Coalition, to ad- 
vise and facilitate the involvement of indepen- 
dent producers. In addition, the Coalition 
proposed that CPB disseminate a request for 
proposals for work and send the Coalition the 
list of history scholars who are consulting on 
the project. 

Step-Up Grants: That CPB issue a binding 
policy statement to PBS requiring that step-up 
funds be used to promote independent access 
to the PBS schedule, and that PBS report to 
CPB on the specific use of all CPB step-up 
funds. And that CPB reinstate $250,000 for 
step-ups in FY 1987 and increase its com- 
mitment to $500,000 in FY 1988. 

The Coalition requested a response from the 
Program Fund by January 30, well in advance 
of the next meeting of the two groups. 

RENEE TAJIMA 



WRITERS GUILD 
FELLOWSHIPS 

Two fellowship programs for New York State 
video writers have been established by the 
Writers Guild of America East Foundation. 
The Documentary Writers Fellowship, for 
applicants who have demonstrated an interest 
in independently produced work, will provide 
grants of $5,000 each for the writing and 
preparation of video documentaries. Another 
12 to 20 fellowships will be presented to 
budding screen and television writers to 
develop a script under the guidance of an 
established writer. Each winner of dramatic 
writing fellowships will be awarded $3,500. 
The fellowships are funded in part by the 
Media Program of the New York State Coun- 
cil on the Arts, which has become increasing- 
ly involved in supporting re-grant programs to 
expand the pool of dollars going to video- 
makers. Contact WGA East Foundation, 555 
W. 57th Street, New York, NY 10019. 

RT 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



SEQUELS 



The Making of Sun City documentary, 
which PBS first expressed interest in and then 
refused to air ["Sun City Blocked by PBS," 
December 1986], was broadcast in prime time 
by public TV station WNYC in New York City 
on January 21. A press release issued by the 
station contradicts the evaluation of the pro- 
gram by PBS News and Public Affairs vice- 
president Barry Chase, who rejected the pro- 
gram because he thought it promoted the 
careers of the producers of the Sun City 
record, music video, and the documentary 
itself. WNYC emphasized that the artists who 
worked on the Sun City project donated their 
time and talents and that all royalties from 
record sales go to the nonprofit Africa Fund, 
which funnels the money to South African 
political prisoners and their families, South 
African exiles, and the educational work of 
anti-apartheid movements. In addition to pro- 
viding the public broadcast premiere of the 
tape, the station produced an update. 

The initial report on the fate of Sun City on 
PBS contained a factual error. The Inter- 
national Documentary Association was mis- 
identified as the Independent Documentary 
Association. Subsequent to publication, the 
IDA announced the winners of its annual 
awards, including a Distinguished Documen- 
tary Achievement Award given toThe 
Making of Sun City. 

D 
It seems that Filmex has finally found a 
home ["Sequels," August/September 1986]. 
On January 13, the American Film Institute 
took over sponsorship of the orphaned and 
indigent film festival, officially known as 
the Los Angeles International Film Exposi- 
tion. Screenings for this year's event will be 
held on March 11-26 at the Bamsdale Park 
Gallery Theater and Los Feliz Theater, with 
an additional marathon retrospective of Cary 
Grant films at the University of California, 
Los Angeles. Many of the selections slated for 
last year's aborted program will be shown this 
year. Ken Wlaschin survives as director of the 
festival. 

□ 
The American Documentary, the proposed 
acquisition series featuring independent doc- 
umentaries ["Package Deal: A New Docu- 
mentary Series," December 1986], received 
$150,000 of the $265,000 requested from the 
CPB Program Fund. The series, which will be 
offered to PBS affiliates by a station consor- 
tium, is budgeted at $765,000. Marc Weiss, 
executive producer of the series, reported that 
he was conducting discussions to explore other 
potential sources of funding for the series. If 
the bulk of the financing was not secured by 
the end of January, Weiss said, the airing of 
the series, planned for this summer, may be 
delayed. 



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The International Angle 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



LEGAL BRIEF 



STRESS FACTORS: 
UNDERSTANDING THE NEW TAX LAW 



Berenice Reynaud 



According to experts on tax laws — accoun- 
tants, lawyers, financial consultants — there 
are no experts on the new tax bill. The In- 
ternal Revenue Service is responsibile for 
interpreting the new law, and they have not 
yet published their updated guidelines. In the 
meantime, accountants and attorneys are 
sometimes at a loss on how to advise their 
clients about the soundness of a given invest- 
ment or the implications of some rule govern- 
ing deductions. And, even when specific 
guidelines are published by the IRS in a 
month or two and the language of the regu- 
lations is elaborated, some provisions will in- 
evitably be challenged in court. Only when 
court rulings occur will many aspects of the 
new code be clarified. However, there is one 
point on which everyone interviewed for this 
article agreed: finding money to produce, dis- 
tribute, and exhibit independent films will 
require more homework and more pavement 
pounding than in the past. Before any major 
financial decision — ranging from making an 
investment in your best friend's film to 
launching a fundraising campaign for your 
organization — the advice of attorney and an 
accountant should be sought. 

One complication of further predictions is 
that the law provides a transition period in 
1987. Some provisions will take full effect 
only in 1988. On the other hand, some regula- 
tions apply retroactively and will effect taxes 
due next April. For the most part, though, the 
new tax law governs income generated in 
1987. What follows is a collection of well- 
informed opinions designed to help you find 
your way in the jungle of the new regulations. 
This article is intended as educational and 
does not constitute legal advice. 

REDEFINING TERMS 

A tax rate is the percentage of income due 
Uncle Sam. Under the previous law there 
were no less than 15 rates, ranging up to 50 
percent. In 1988, the number of rates will be 
reduced to two: 15 and 28 percent. And in 
1987, a mixture of the old and new law will be 
in effect, with 38.5 percent as the highest rate. 
At first glance, since the rates are lower, it 
seems that individuals' less taxes will decrease. 
This is not necessarily so. Tax rates are based 
on adjusted gross income (AGI). AGI repre- 



sents gross income minus the personal exem- 
ption, which has been significantly increased 
from $1,080 per person in 1986 to $1,900 in 
1987, $1,950 in 1988, and $2,000 in 1980. But, 
because many tax deductions have been eli- 
minated or pared down in the new law, great- 
er portions of income will be subject to tax- 
ation. 

The initial portion of income (recently 
known as the zero bracket amount or ZBA, 
but once again referred to in IRS literature as 
the standard deduction) is not taxable. And 
the standard deduction has been increased 
under the new law. For single individuals, it 
will rise from $2,480 in 1986 to $2,540 in 
1987, and $3,000 in 1988. For a married 
couple filing jointly, it will climb from $3,670 
to $3,760 to $5,000. What this means is that, 
if you're single, you won't pay taxes on the 
first $3,000 of your AGI in 1988. The re- 
mainder becomes taxable income. After 1987. 
individuals will pay 15 percent on taxable 
income up to $17,850, and 28 percent on all 
income above that. The effective rate, then, is 



the overall rate paid on taxable 
income, for example, $3,279.50 taxes on 
taxable income of $20,000 produces an 
effective rate of 16 percent. The marginal tax 
rate is the rate paid on the last dollar of 
income, in this case, 28 percent on the $2,150 
dollars above $17,850. The marginal tax rate 
is important because it determines the tax 
benefit of deductions, which are calculated 
based on this rate. Tax benefits are thus 
reduced from a maximum of 50 percent in 
1986 to a maximum of 38.5 percent in 1987 
and to a 28 percent maximum in 1988. 

Income reduction provisions cover direct 
deductions from taxable income. But the new 
law imposes restrictions, such as those on the 
deductibility of Individual Retirement Ac- 
count (IRA) contributions, although a work- 
ing taxpayer not covered by another re- 
tirement plan may still deduct up to $2,000. 
The old rule also holds for individuals whose 
AGI is less that $25,000 and married couples 
filing jointly with an AGI under $40,000. 
Also, in the past, certain investments in a 



Tax Guide for 
Small Business 



Service 



For use in preparing 
1986 Returns 



Publication 334 (Rev Nov. 86) 




8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



business venture, including film or video 
productions, could be used to offset income 
from another source. The new law puts many 
restrictions on that provision. 

Below the line or itemized deductions do not 
constitute income reductions but apply to in- 
come tax. When they are still allowed, they 
will make it possible for you to deduct, at best, 
$28 of any $100 spent on, for example, unre- 
imbursed employee business expenses or chari- 
table contributions in 1988. Many of these 
expenses will be considered only if, in aggre- 
gate, they exceed two percent of your AGI. 

PLAYING THE NUMBERS 

Limited partnerships have enabled financing 
of a number of independent films, and "even 
the studios have depended [on them] in the 
past to raise money," accountant Daniel 
Jacobson points out. The current forms of 
limited partnerships vary according to state 
laws, but in general limited partnerships con- 
sist of selling shares to partners to cover the 
print and advertising costs against the first 
proceeds from the film. This form of finan- 
cing has been considered a more secure invest- 
ment than, say, underwriting principal photo- 
graphy. If the film made a profit, not only did 
investors earn money, but the deal was usually 
calculated so that they received a one-year 
deferral of income tax liability. Investments of 
this sort were typically made towards the end 
of the year and deductions taken as a loss on 
individual tax returns for that year. Jacobson 
explains that during "the next year, when box- 
office receipts came in and the producer was 
entitled to a share of the box-office, that in- 
come was distributed to the investors, and 
they paid taxes the following year." On the 
other hand, if the film didn't make a profit, 
losses could be deducted from the taxable 
income of each partner. For example, if 
someone invested $100 in a film venture 
where a 75 percent loss was reported, he or 
she could deduct $75 from taxable income. 

These two tax advantages of limited part- 
nerships are no longer available. "Losses from 
those partnerships are now called passive 
losses and are only usable against passive in- 
come," says Jacobson. For the IRS, passive 
income refers to income from a business or 
activity in which you do not "materially parti- 
cipate." Although there are many criteria 
that determine material participation in a 
business, the law sees limited partnerships as 
passive by definition, since the investors never 
participate in management. And passive losses 
can not offset income from salaries, interests, 
or dividends. The only investors who will now 
be able to obtain a tax write-off by investing 
in risky or noncommercial projects are those 
who have also participated in other — 
presumably profitable — passive investments. 
As a result, "the small investors, the family 
investors, and investor friends are going to go 



The American Federation of Arts Presents 




Turn- of- the -Century Film from American Archives 

A ground-breaking program featuring seventy recently-preserved Ameri- 
can films unseen by the general public since their initial turn-of-the-century 
release. Tides include exciting rediscoveries by Cecil B. DeMille, William 
S. Hart, Mary Pickford and others, all newly copied for this tour. 

35mm tour begins January, 1987 



Whitney Museum of American Art 
New York 
January-February, 1987 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 
March-April, 1987 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 
April-May, 1987 

Institute of North American Studies 

Barcelona 

May-June, 1987 



Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 
September, 1987 

San Diego Museum of Art 
September-October, 1987 

Detroit Institute of Art 
October, 1987 

Ohio State University, Columbus 
January, 1988 

16mm tour begins October, 1987 



This traveling film exhibition is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the 
National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, the 
Eugene and Estelle Ferkauf Foundation, the Arthur Ross Foundation, and the Brown 
Foundation, Inc., and by Hilva Landsman, Barbara Goldsmith and Frank Perrv. and 
James Ottaway, Jr. 

Institutions interested in presenting Before Hollywood should contact: 
The American Federation of Arts Film Program 
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MARCH 1987 



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by the wayside," attorney Ronald Finer pro- 
jects. Jacobson concurs, adding, "There's going 
to be far less utilization of limited partnerships 
as financing tools for independent film pro- 
ducers." 

The new law is also retroactive, governing 
tax shelters purchased before the new law 
takes effect. Losses from limited partnerships, 
no matter when these were formed, cannot 
not be used to offset active income. Timothy 
Jensen of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts 
believes that this "might increase [the in- 
vestors'] desire to get out." Unlike the old 
provisions, however, investors are now allowed 
to carry losses forward and use these to offset 
passive income in future years. There is no 
time limit on what is called a suspended loss . 
For example, if partnership X loses $10,000 in 
1987, and partnership Y registers a profit of 
$5,000, the losses in X can offset income in Y, 
and the remaining $5,000 can offset future 
passive income in 1988, '89, and beyond. 
Additionally, if the partnership is dissolved 
and the investment sold, the new law allows 
use of tax shelter loss to offset any kind of 
income, not only passive income. 

Other fundraising techniques, such as public 
stock offerings, remain available. Jacobson 
predicts the creation of a few companies that 
will "raise money in the capital market by 
selling stocks and make production arrange- 
ments with independent producers in order to 
get product." But, he cautions, "their criteria 
will be very tough, and the deals that will be 
cut will be very tough. It's going to be harder 
for small independent producers to really 
make a lot of money out of a product." The 
new tax law is meant to increase rational- 
ization of economic and financial resources, 
which is why the tax shelter benefits of limited 
partnerships was deleted. "[The IRS] doesn't 
want people to make an investment just 
because of a tax break," says accountant Alice 
Krause. The spirit of the new law is to 
encourage economically viable investments 
and well-measured risks on "bankable pro- 
duct." Many film or video projects have very 
little chance of classification as bankable pro- 
duct or of generating enough income to at- 
tract a shrewd investor. Another route for 
independent producers may be through non- 
profit organizations able to raise money for 
their projects. But those tempted to take that 
route should be cautioned that a nonprofit 
that solely produces film or video must es- 
tablish a "legitimate artistic, cultural or edu- 
cational purpose" [see "Commercial Breaks: 
Profits, Nonprofits, Taxes," The Independent, 
October 1985]. 

The potential repercussions of the new tax 
code for nonprofit organizations, the insti- 
tutional base for many independent film and 
video production in this country, are outlined 
below, following a summary of the situation 
facing individual producers. 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



DIMINISHING RETURNS 

Several provisions of the changed tax law 
could severly affect the solvency, if not the 
accounting practices, of independent film and 
video producers who claim sole proprietorship 
of a business. One destined to create problems 
is the hobby loss limitation rule. If film or 
videomaking is not the main source of in- 
come — rather than, as for many indepen- 
dents, the main source of expenses — the IRS 
might determine that the activity is a hobby 
and deductions for hobby expenses cannot 
exceed hobby income. Although this restric- 
tion has existed for many years, the statutory 
tests have been made more rigorous by the 
new legislation. A profession is differentiated 
from from a hobby on the basis of the pro- 
fessional, "businesslike" conduct of the endeav- 
or, requiring proof of business transactions, 
thorough record-keeping, and the like, al- 
though proof of professional recognition of an 
artist enhances one's case in a dispute with 
the IRS. In addition, the business must show 
profits three out of five years, instead of two 
out of five allowed by the previous law, 
although this latter provision may be chal- 
lenged in court. 

Previously, the law provided for investment 
tax credits, representing 10 percent of the 
price of equipment purchased. This tax credit 
was subtracted directly from income tax, not 
deducted from income. This provision was 



abolished, retroactive to January 1, 1986. It is 
still possible to claim tax credit for items pur- 
chased under a contract that was binding on 
or before December 31, 1985, if that item was 
put in use prior to prescribed deadlines 
(ranging from January 1, 1986, to January 1, 
1991, depending on the useful life of the 
item). 

There are also significant changes in the 
regulations concerning the Accelerated Cost 
Recovery System (ACRS), an accounting 
method used to depreciate business assets over 
a period of time. Accountant Robert Stuart ex- 
plains, "The new law lengthens significantly 
the useful life of an asset, so it will take longer 
than before to depreciate." Thus, the write-off 
for a given year will not be as great as in the 
past but can be applied over a greater number 
of years, e.g., the three-year depreciation per- 
iod for automobiles, has been extended to five; 
the five year period for most equipment and 
machinery has been changed to seven. Film 
studios and other large-scale entertainment 
firms have used the ACRS to depreciate their 
film as assets over five years, although the le- 
gality of this method has been disputed by the 
IRS. Depreciation of film has also been calcu- 
lated using a method called income forecast, 
although experts are unsure if this has been re- 
pealed under the new law. Income forecast 
allowed depreciation on the basis of the formu- 
la: 1986 film income divided by total project- 
ed income times total film cost equals 1986 



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depreciation. The figure for total income is 
necessarily speculative, determined by such fac- 
tors as income from past projects. In the case 
of small firms, however, the IRS has not been 
known to argue the amount of a projected 
income. 

Except for a new deduction for health insur- 
ance payments, deductions for business expens- 
es will diminish. Instead of a full 100 percent 
deduction for entertainment expenses, includ- 
ing business meals, the new law allows only 80 
percent. The 80 percent rule applies to meals 
and entertainment away from home, whereas 
travel related to business "in a genuine and 
substantial sense" remains deductible as does 
travel related to educational activity, as long 
as the travel itself is not the educational acti- 
vity. The revised tax code also stipulates that 
"if you lose money [on a business venture], 
you can no longer deduct money out of your 
home (rent, utilities, mortgage interest, real 
estate taxes, etc....)," even if it houses an office 
or production facility. This provision was 
argued by the IRS for two years before Con- 
gress agreed to let them have their way. Now, 
a home-office deduction cannot exceed the 
net income generated by the business. How- 
ever, if the deduction is in excess, it can be car- 
ried forward to offset future business income. 

There's good news, however, for indepen- 
dents who have incorporated. The maximum 
rate for corporate taxes has been reduced 
from 46 percent to 34 percent, although these 
changes only affect corporations with taxable 
income above $25,000. The rate reductions 
are particularly significant for taxable income 
between $25,000 and $75,000. Up to $25,000, 
the rate remains 15 percent. The bad news is 
that the IRS seems to be cracking down on 
corporations created by individuals to provide 
"personal services," although it is not clear 
how this will be interpreted regarding small 
film and video corporations. 

GIVING AND TAKING 

If individual producers can expect greater 
difficulties operating within the new tax law, 
nonprofit organizations may experience more 
extreme effects from the new itemization rule 
on charitable donations, which may cut deeply 
into philanthropic funding. In 1982 Congress 
allowed non-itemizers to deduct charitable 
contributions in addition to their standard 
deduction. This provision expired in 1986. 
Now all deductions must be itemized. If the 
total of all itemized deductions is lower than 
the standard deduction, you are limited to the 
standard deduction. Since the rate applicable 
to itemized deductions depends on the 
marginal tax rate, the reduction of the 
maximum bracket to 28 percent means that a 
smaller portion of charitable contributions 
will be deductible. In 1986 a person in the 
highest bracket who contributed $100 to a 
charity was allowed a deduct $50 tax de- 



duction; in 1988, the maximum deduction is 
$28 on the same contribution. 

While the the new law is quite explicit on 
that point, experts are still debating the 
consequences for nonprofit organizations. Ac- 
cording to some, the new provisions will have 
a very negative effect. The Independent Sec- 
tor, a nonprofit watchdog group composed of 
650 volunteer organizations, foundations, and 
corporate officers responsible for charitable 
giving, opposed the 1986 tax bill on these 
grounds. In late December 1986 Independent 
Sector published the findings of a survey, con- 
ducted by Harvard economist Lawrence 
Lindsay, that estimated that the marginal tax 
rate cut from 50 percent to 28 percent will 
cause a $4.98-billion loss for nonprofits nation- 
wide; the elimination of non-itemized chari- 
table deductions will create an additional $4.9- 
billion loss; the subjection of appreciated pro- 
perty to minimum tax will produce a $.99- 
billion loss (this provision concerns real pro- 
perty donations and donations of appreciable 
art work; previously, a painting bought for 
$1,000 but worth $10,000 when donated to a 
nonprofit institution constituted a deduction 
based on the appreciated value, whereas now 
the deduction is calculated on the original cost 
while the appreciated value is taxable). The 
survey's estimation of average income losses 
for nonprofits is 14.3 percent. 

The survey used an economic model to com- 
pare two quantities: the income after tax and 
the price of giving after tax. For instance, for 
a taxpayer in the 30 percent tax bracket, the 
cost of giving $1 to a charity is $.70 It pos- 
tulates "ideal economic subjects" who are 
going to make sound and rational decisions. 
But, according to financial consultant Susan 
Eichen, "Individuals [who make charitable 
contributions] are not so much motivated by 
tax incentives as they are by the desire to 
give" Jensen at VLA likewise observes, "The 
tax rate changed five times since 1920, and 
contributions didn't go down." In projecting 
the consequences of these tax changes, it's also 
important to analyze the profile of taxpayers 
who make charitable contributions. Since 
large donations are most affected by the new 
law, Lindsay's study concludes, "Charities that 
rely on large income donors will have a larger 
drop [of income]" because "the reduction in 
tax-rate is larger for high-income than middle- 
income taxpayers." In addition, Eichen ob- 
serves, "Small contributors don't think about 
tax deductions when they make a donation." 

Still, experts on nonprofit fundraising are 
sharply divided in their predictions. Consul- 
tant Michael Seltzer comments, "The result 
of these tax laws is damaging to nonprofits. 
But for independent filmmakers the aspect 
which is of prime importance is the cut in the 
marginal rate, because it affects one of the 
incentives donors have to make substantial 
gifts to independents." Bob Smucker of Inde- 
pendent Sector notes that the findings of 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



Lindsay's survey do not include "the efforts of 
organizations to try harder to raise funds." 
Attorney John Sloss believes, "People are over- 
reacting when they think that the new tax law 
will have an adverse effect on fundraising for 
charities. Charitable contributions are still de- 
ductable for individuals who itemize." And 
Eichen points out that "charitable contribu- 
tions may be less attractive than they are now, 
but, compared to the other alternatives under 
the new law, they still will be attractive, since 
there will be fewer tax loopholes. If an organ- 
ization has a large base of support, it is less 
likely to be hurt. The not-for-profit sector 
should not panic." 

Suggested reading: The Price Waterhouse 
Guide to the New Tax Law. Bantam Books, 
New York, 1986, $3.95 (paperback) 

/ would like to thank the following individuals 
who kindly agreed to be interviewed and to 
share their opinions: Douglas Burak, partner 
in the accounting firm of Lutz and Carr; 
Susan Eichen, financial consultant; Ronald 
Finer, partner in the law firm of Col ton, 
Weissberg, Hartnick, Yamin and Sheresky; 
Daniel Jacobson, CPA, partner in Laventhol 
and Horwarth; Timothy S. Jensen, director of 
Legal Services, Volunteer Lawyers for the 
Arts; Alice Krause, CPA; Lawrence Lindsay, 
professor in the Department of Economics, 
Harvard University; Michael Seltzer, devel- 
opment and fundraising consultant to non- 
profit organizations, including filmmakers; 
John Sloss, attorney at Parker, Auspitz, Neese- 
mann and Delehanty, vice-president of the 
Collective for Living Cinema; Bob Smucker, 
vice-president, Government Relation, Inde- 
pendent Sector; Robert Stuart, from Bernard 
Dickman's accounting firm. 

On January 15, 1987, the Association of In- 
dependent Video and Filmmakers sponsored a 
seminar, with accountants Susan Lee and 
Cecil Feldman discussing the repercussions of 
the revised tax code for independent produ- 
cers. Some of the information in this article 
was presented at that event. The seminar was 
tape-recorded, and copies of the tape are avail- 
able. For more information, call Ethan Young 
at AIVF, (212) 473-3400. 

Berenice Reynaud, a freelance critic and pro- 
grammer based in New York City, is currently 
writing a book on independent cinema. 

© Berenice Reynaud 1987 




Video Software // Interest Group 



AN OPEN LETTER 

TO VIDEO 

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FROM VIDEO-SIG 



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MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



OFF- 
OFF- 
OFF 
CINEMA 



WEST GERMAN SUPER 8 




Karen Rosenberg 



West German avant-gardists Christiane 
Schauder and Reinhard W. Wolf founded 
KOB-8 [Koordinationsbiiro der 8mm-Filme- 
macher], a bureau for super 8 filmmakers in 
Mainz in 1981, and have been directing it 
ever since. Participants since the early 1970s 
in the development of West German alter- 
native filmmaking, they moved from making 
their own films to producing a newsletter and 
running workshops for KOB-8. She paints and 
works as an art restorer; he writes and works 
as a film teacher. Xjiven their varied back- 
grounds, they are particularly well-equipped to 
explain the tumultuous history of West Ger- 
man super 8 since the seventies. Most signi- 
ficant, they believe, is a split that developed in 
that era between political filmmakers and 
those primarily interested in film as art, a split 
that helped cause the breakup of earlier asso- 
ciations formed to promote and distribute su- 
per 8 film. Another reason for this collapse, in 
their view, was diminished resistance to nu- 
clear weapons and environmental pollution in 
West Germany. Many political filmmakers 
who had produced informational and agita- 
tional works shown in community halls and 



pubs stopped making films. Much of their 
audience did not make the transition to the 
nonnarrative and formally demanding films 
made in the eighties. The social criticism of an 
aesthetic influenced by expressionism and 
punk left them cold. "And that's a bit 
disappointing," says Wolf. "People who were 
socially conscious are not necessarily cultur- 
ally conscious." 

At the same time, in the early 1980s, few in 
the new urban avant garde knew the history 
of super 8 in West Germany. The result was a 
"cultural gap," Wolf continues. "Actually, 
we are the only mediation point between 
these generations and types of super 8 film- 
makers." This historical perspective and an 
openness to new trends clearly aided Wolf 
when he curated a 90-minute program of 
recent German independent super 8 films, 
which came to Massachusetts and New York 
City in the fall of 1986, hosted by the 
International Center for 8mm Film and 
Video. As a concession to non-German-speak- 
ing audiences, the films chosen contain rela- 
tively little dialogue or narration, but use 
many animation techniquesand found footage 
cut to music. As the following interview 
reveals, these visually expressive works offer a 
critical perspective on contemporary society. 



The Winkelkotte brothers (right) entertain 
inside their mobile cinema-in-truck. 

Photo: Reinhard Wolf 

You may be led to ask how many U.S. experi- 
mental film and videomakers in their late 
twenties do the same? 

Thanks to Toni Treadway, the Goethe Insti- 
tutes of Boston and Chicago, and to Miriam 
Hansen for help in preparing this article. 
Another section of the interview appeared in 
issue 10 of German Politics and Society, a 
journal of the Center for European Studies, 
Harvard University [5 Bryant St., Cambridge, 
MA 02138]. 

□ 

Karen Rosenberg: Let's discuss some of 
the themes of recent West German super 8. I 
noticed a postmodern, ironic critique of the 
media in Christoph Doering's Persona Non 
Grata [1982]. And useless [1983], by "detec- 
tive f.," is a pastiche of super 8 porno and 
fiction films, sold in department stores, and 
TV news clips of planes and soldiers, cut to 
music with lyrics like "Nothing to do.. .strange 
new toys." 
Reinhard Wolf: ...and Der Bundeskanzler 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



[1982] too. It's a clip of a music group called 
TV-War. There was a period — it started in 
perhaps 1979, and it's over now — when the 
TV set itself appeared in many films, and 
material filmed directly from TV was com- 
piled and used. It was not a conscious move- 
ment — like, "Now we'll make films against 
the media" — but people saw such films at 
festivals and liked them, and it spread. We 
picked those films because they were typical of 
the time. This program was made not only for 
screenings but as a kind of archive of im- 
portant filmmakers and developments. Doer- 
ing's film starts with a TV set in one corner of 
an empty room, and Der Bundeskanzler has a 
TV set on a motorway and at the Berlin 
Wall — almost the same framing. It was obvi- 
ous that there is a connection. 
Christiane Schauder: Very often filmmak- 
ers used the TV news as a background, and 
you hear "10,000 bombs..." and "100,000 
killed...." This gives a very cold and brutal 
climate. 

RW: A serious interrelationship between 
film and music is also typical. Music is used 
not just as soft background or to support feel- 
ings. The images are cut to the music, but 
both have equal importance. 
CS: A lot of the super 8 films have war as 
the subject. Bringing nuclear weapons to Ger- 
many caused many demonstrations and a 
police presence in the cities. As soon as the 
discussion of nuclear weapons began, nobody 
could flee from that reality. 
KR: And Kriegsfilm [War Movie], by Wolf- 
gang Hogekamp, Tommy Christmann, and 
BeaNothnagel [1984]? 

RW: It has a different subject: the war in the 
city, war as a metaphor, the war between the 
state and people, between aesthetics and indus- 
trial power. The first part, called "War 
Dance," is cut to suggest how people are frag- 
mented in modern society. They can't move 
very far; they move but stay in the same place. 
The next part, "War Aesthetics," is a night 
scene of a factory in fast motion, contrasted 
with the song of a nightingale, which sounds, 
however, like a war cry, as it was cut arti- 
ficially on the tape machine. This is industrial 
aesthetics. And the third part, "War Film," 
features people armed with weapons, who are 
supposed to form the militant opposition, in a 
garage — the underground as the state fears it 
to be — earnestly going about its business. 
KR: Underground in fact. 
RW: The subject of Persona Non Grata is 
very close to Kriegsfilm, but more directed 
toward the personal. 

KR: So it shows the militarization of society 
in a more general sense? 

RW: Yes, more as a metaphor. Everybody is 
aggressive, fighting against one another. And 
people who are different — like the persona 
non grata — are isolated. 

KR: Is there an attempt in this alternative 
cinema to deal with subjects that are taboo in 



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mainstream film? 

RW: They can be dealt with, but in a com- 
pletely different way. The so-called Young 
German Cinema — made up of people who are 
now in their fifties — produces fiction films. 
They always personalize social problems, a 
strategy they might not have pursued when 
they started. They were not always as narrow 
as they are now. 

CS: These super 8 films are very spontaneous, 
very close to what happens every day. You 
don't need a story to express everyday reality. 
RW: I'd say they are neo-expressionist. and 
some are very close to the pre-war expres- 
sionist films — what we call Caligari films — 
and to the experimental works of filmmakers 



like Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter. 

which aren't really expressionist. 

KR: So they know that history. Where are 

those films shown? 

CS: In cinematheques, art schools, and art 

film theaters. 

RW: I have the feeling that the German film 

history which was interrupted by the Nazi 

regime is being continued now, 40-odd years 

after the war. So, in a way, these super 8 

filmmakers, while modern, are more conscious 

of German film tradition than the Young 

German Cinema, which is more bound to the 

narrative tradition of the nineteenth-century 

novel. 

KR: Did many of them study in art schools 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 




and see pre-war films there? 
RW: Definitely. Many of them are painters 
and musicians as well as filmmakers. Expres- 
sionist painting is even more accessible than 
old films. 

KR: And are there multi-media events using 
super 8? 

CS: Yes, performances using painting, music, 
film, and dance. Suddenly, beginning in the 
early 1980s, there was a kind of explosion of 
self-expression, especially in the big cities. 
KR: Dieter Scherer's Deutschland [1983/4] is a 
filmed performance: a soldier in uniform, 
screaming "Deutschland," crawls, as if wound- 
ed, by a German lakeshore, disturbing stroll- 
ing tourists until taken away by the police. In 
the U.S. video is often used to document per- 
formance art. What about in West Germany? 
CS: Less. But Scherer's film is more than the 
documentation of a performance. The fictional 
aspect would have been lost if this had been 
merely a video documentation. 
KR: Perhaps some people who might be doing 
video art in the U.S. would be working in 
super 8 in Germany. Is super 8 an important 
part of artistic culture in Germany? 
RW: It's marginal, but perhaps less marginal 
than in the U.S. It's hard to count how many 
super 8 filmmakers there are in Germany. 
How do you decide who is a filmmaker and 
who just does a film every two years? 
KR: Would most of the filmmakers in your 
program consider themselves filmmakers or 
artists in general? 
CS: Artists in general. 

KR: They generally don't support themselves 
through their artwork? 
CS: Right. 

KR: Why do they work in super 8 rather than 
in 16mm — or even 35mm — film? 
CS: They don't have to fight for support. 
They have the equipment, so they use it. It's 
the quickest and cheapest way, so they try to 
make their work as good as possible within 
their means. 

KR: Why don't they seek state support? Is it 
that they don't want to be judged by con- 
servative aesthetic and political criteria? 
RW: Some wouldn't cross the threshhold. 



Reinhard Wolf (left) 
and Christiane 
Schauder (right), the 
cofounders of West 
Germany's super 8 
film bureau KOB-8. 

Photo: Bob Brodsky 



Maybe they couldn't communicate with the 
bureaucratic subsidizing bodies. They wouldn't 
be able or want to fill out forms. And they 
might be too anarchistic to follow the rules. 
KR: You are showing a very funny short 
film called Deutschlandreise [Touring Ger- 
many], made in 1983, a kind of bird's eye view 
of the country. Architectural details, often 
framed as abstract compositions, replace 
familiar tourist shots of major sights. We 
expect typical views, which never appear. The 
name of the production group is Anar- 
chistische Gummizelle [Anarchistic Padded 
Room]. I assume that's another joke, but is 
there an anarchist strain in the avant garde? 
. RW: Not in the narrow political sense. 
CS: The jokes about themselves create a bit 
of freedom for them. Everyone expects them 
to be a bit crazy, a bit anarchistic. 
KR: Five of the 14 films you brought were 
made in Berlin. I gather that this avant garde 
is mainly an urban phenomenon. 
RW: There is a cultural migration, not only 
of super 8 filmmakers but of painters as well. 
Some of them prefer the cultural climate of a 
big city, and they go mostly to Berlin. About 
10 years ago it used to be Diisseldorf. 
CS: And now Cologne and recently Hamburg 
are gaining in artistic favor. 
RW: Of those people in our program who 
made films in Berlin, only one was bom 
there. 

KR: There's one film that you brought, made 
in 1983/4, that stands apart aesthetically. Die 
Veranerung [The Change] has no spoken 
words, only Romantic music accompanying 
documentary shots of trees, or earthmovers, 
and of clashes with the police. 
RW: And an actor plays the punk at the end 
who runs through the woods and into the 
city, throwing stones. Another plays a 
policeman. 

KR: What was the issue? 
CS: In 1983, a big runway for the Frankfurt 
airport was under construction, which meant 
cutting down a large forest. People who had 
never been in any political opposition became 
active. And the filmmaker was involved in 
this anti-airport protest. 



RW: There were action groups from sur- 
rounding villages. 

CS: At that point old people were caught in 
the same situation as the so-called punks had 
been in the cities. It brought young and old 
very close together, and that's what this film 
expresses. Even older viewers understood that 
the people are only reacting to the violence of 
the police. 

KR: Where was it shown? 
CS: In public halls in municipal buildings 
that might also house a library and other ser- 
vices, for example. Such films [about a 
political movement or demonstration] are still 
shown, but not continually, only at special 
events. 

KR: Was the filmmaker, Jochen Pollitt, one 
of those who tried to create an alternative 
information system in the 1970s? 
CS: No, but Die Verdnderung is very similar 
to the old films of the anti-nuclear move- 
ment, which he knew. He lives in a non-urban 
community that has no cinema, and for years 
he and his friends showed good mainstream 
films to the people there. He also runs an 
annual open-air super 8 festival in Weiter- 
stadt. His experiences with community audi- 
ences is reflected in the style of his film. 
KR: So there is some continuity between the 
filmmaking generations. 
CS: This is an exception that has something 
to do with his audience. They are rural people, 
not very political, and he wanted to make 
them understand, emotionally, what is going 
on. It was not made for people in the metro- 
politan political movements; they wouldn't 
like that form. 

KR: Besides Weiterstadt, at which other 
major German festivals are super 8 films 
screened? 

RW: For nine years, there's been a super 8 
festival in Bonn, whereas Berlin's is in its 
third year. And that reflects the old move- 
ment in West Germany and the new move- 
ment -in Berlin. There's a big experimental 
workshop, with 16mm and video as well, in 
Osnabriick, and a women's film festival in 
Cologne, the Feminale, which shows a lot of 
small gauge films. 

KR: If the political movements which meet 
and screen films in public halls are not 
receptive to the aesthetic of the new avant- 
garde films, even though, as we discussed, 
those films make critical political points, 
where are they exhibited? 
RW: In normal cinemas, no chance. There are 
a little over 100 Kommunales Kinos [muni- 
cipal, public-funded cinemas] in German 
towns. Their aim is to select programs ac- 
cording to cultural, film historical, and ped- 
agogical criteria, and they are integrated into 
the cultural departments of town govern- 
ments. They are very important to the inde- 
pendent film sector. Some are conservative 
concerning small gauge films, but some show 
super 8. They can pay a good fee. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



CS: Though it depends how much money they 
get from the town — there are big differences 
from town to town. 

RW: The next step down — or up, or 
whatever — is what we call "off-cinemas," 
which don't show big commercial films but 
successful art films. They don't run a film as 
long as people keep coming but change the 
program according to a fixed schedule. These 
off-cinemas don't show super 8. Then there 
are off-off -cinemas: groups who organize a 
cinema, maybe renting an unused cinema. 
CS: ...or a factory loft. 

RW: Like Eiszeit in the Kreuzberg district of 
Berlin. 

CS: ...a tough part of the city... 
RW: ...which was famous for its squatters' 
movement. It's close to the Wall — a pro- 
letarian area where there was a lot of real 
estate speculation and renovation. It's also a 
cultural center of Berlin. Eiszeit is in a back 
house — behind another house. It gets darker 
and darker... 

CS: ...and cheaper and cheaper.... 
RW: I think a small factory used to be there. 
KR: Are super 8 films shown in galleries and 
museums? 

CS: In galleries, yes. A museum would show 
a Hans Richter retrospective, for example. 
RW: ...but not contemporary films. 
KR: What about cable TV? 
RW: Only a few cities in Germany have 
cable. 

CS: The cable projects were a big flop. Only 
about 10 percent of the people they expected 
to buy it did. 

KR: Does the state-run television consider 
super 8 not broadcast quality, as is the case 
here? 

RW: There is actually no way to get a super 
8 film on a normal program. But in special 
program slots you can show super 8, though 
not very often. 

CS: There is a special series with weekly 
programs called Kleines Fernsehspiel [Small 
Teleplay] on ZDF, and they show some super 
8 productions. Some are coproductions, some 
made entirely with these funds. The guidelines 
for selection are being revised right now by 
the Kleines Fernsehspiel department. 
RW: Three or four super 8 films were 
funded. 

KR: When did this start? 
RW: About three or four years ago. 
KR: Do more super 8 filmmakers want to get 
TV money? 

RW: Some try to, yes, more than before. 
CS: But that only makes sense for a big — 60- 
or 90-minute production. For the small and 
short film, it isn't worth the effort. They pro- 
duce it some other way. 

RW: Kleines Fernsehspiel has a feature- 
length time slot, about 90 minutes, every 
Tuesday. Up until now they have mostly pro- 
duced films of 80, 90, or 100 minutes. But now 
they are considering putting together an 




anthology of short films. Recently, this was sug- 
gested to them at a meeting, and one of the 
people working there agreed to it. But, as far 
as I know, not much has happened. 

Kleines Fernsehspiel has two main budget 
categories: there's the big budget film [about 
200,000 DM] and the so-called "camera 
film" [about 120,000 DM, approximately 
$60,000]. But they want to do something 
new, to give money to filmmakers to make 
short films, maybe test films, which don't 
have to be broadcast if the results aren't as 
expected. Something like giving away 5,000 
DM to a super 8 filmmaker to produce a 10- 
to 15-minute film, and if it's very good, they 
might take it. 

CS: If not, they keep it in the archive. 
KR: How else is super 8 distributed? What's 
this mobile cinema from Berlin — "Mirona" — 
that sounds so intriguing? 
RW: Two or three years ago, the Winkelkotte 
brothers made a 90-minute super 8 film and 
toured with it and a projector, as many do, to 
pubs, to off-off-cinemas, and to artists' work- 
spaces. They like to tour, so they bought this 
truck and built a cinema in it. 
KR: How many people can fit in it? 
CS: Twenty, 25. 

KR: Does KOB-8 function as a distribution 
center? 

RW: To a certain extent. We are kind of 
pressed into it without being able to do it, 
because we aren't funded. Whatever we do is 
on our own time. We have formed something 
called a Film Pool which is a kind of passive 
form of distribution. If people inquire, we send 
leaflets and the films, but we have no time for 
active distribution work, except for this 
program. 

CS: ...which we send around Germany. Some- 
times we accompany the films, if it's not very 
far to travel. 



There is life after Winnebago. The 
Winkelkotte brothers like touring their super 8 
films, so they built a screening room inside a 
truck, dubbed it Mirona, and took the show 
on the road. 

Photo: Reinhard Wolf 

RW: Financing the program was a risk for us 
because we made contracts with the film- 
makers in which we agreed to pay something 
per minute per screening. And we bought the 
prints. 

KR: You did this because you feel that artists 
should be compensated? 
CS: Yes, because we used to make films when 
we had the time, and we think that film- 
makers should get some money for their work. 
We got some money from a student organ- 
ization, which helped pay for the prints. Our 
contract says that first we recover the money 
for" the prints, and after that the filmmakers 
get paid. 

RW: The advantage for the student organ- 
ization is that the student film clubs can rent 
the films at a lower cost. 
CS: And that's beginning now. 

Karen Rosenberg is a writer whose work has 
appeared in Sight and Sound, the Nation, the 
Boston Globe, and elsewhere. 

© Karen Rosenberg 1987 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE FORGETTABLE 



THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ARCHIVES 




Way Down East, 
D.W. Griffith's film 
starring Lillian Gish 
and Lowell 
Sherman. 

Courtesy International 
Museum of Photography at 
George Eastman House 
Stills Collection 



bdward Ball 



Edison's Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, 
better known as "Fred Ott's Sneeze," is a 
film seen by thousands of new viewers each 
year and a landmark in the early history of 
cinema. Its protagonist, Mr. Ott, could make 
a slightly deviant but nevertheless defensible 
claim to screen immortality. In 1894, "Fred 
Ott's Sneeze" was the first film deposited 
for copyright at the Library of Congress, 
whose film archive is today the largest com- 
prehensive collection in the country. Always 
the businessman, Thomas Edison placed every 
frame he shot in the hands of the library, not 
for safekeeping but for proprietary reasons. 
Other pioneers of film and thousands of pro- 
ducers since Edison have declined to make the 
effort. One result is that more then half of the 
films shot and distributed before 1950 have 
been lost or destroyed. What we think of as 



"the cinema" is really a matter of what 
someone, sometime, decided to store. 

Archives hold a curious but unquestionable 
power in film culture. They help determine 
what future viewers will see of current film- 
making, while the omissions in their collec- 
tions testify to what has already fallen 
through the cracks of history. Archives house, 
preserve, and restore prints. They publish peri- 
odicals and catalogues. They open their doors 
to journalists and academics. The film curator 
is like a latter-day scribe, the recordkeeper of 
an image industry that often regards its own 
prolific past as a distraction from tomorrow's 
shooting schedule. "We collect film as docu- 
ment and cultural artifact, as well as for the 
sake of 'art,'" says Robert Rosen, director of 
the huge multi-media archive at the Univer- 
sity of California, Los Angeles, which has 
been amassing films since the late 1960s. The 
acquisition decisions of an archive curator are 
a de facto judgment on what passes as 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



memorable cinema — and what is turned aside 
to fall on the ash heap of history. 

Two of the most important archives for in- 
dependent cinema are, without doubt, Anthol- 
ogy Film Archives in New York City, whose 
collection of U.S. and foreign avant-garde 
work is unrivalled in the country, and the Cen- 
ter for Film and Theater Research at the 
University of Wisconsin, Madison, which has 
gathered a large stockpile of leftist political 
work among its 14,000 films. Yet, like all 
forms of enterprise in this country, film col- 
lecting tends toward oligarchy, and the ar- 
chive domain has become dominated by a few 
high-profile players. 

There are six major film archives in the 
United States at the moment: the Motion 
Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound 
Division of the Library of Congress (in 
Washington, D.C., with some 100,000 titles), 
the Motion Picture, Sound and Video Branch 
of the National Archives and Records 

MARCH 1987 



Administration (also in Washington, with 
150,000 titles, mostly government-produced 
documentaries), the film archive of the 
University of California, Los Angeles (some 
36,000 titles), the Department of Film at the 
Museum of Modern Art in New York City 
(8,500 titles), the Pacific Film Archive at the 
University of California, Berkeley (6,000 
titles), and the International Museum of 
Photography at George Eastman House in 
Rochester, New York (6,000 titles). In ad- 
dition to reels of film, most of these collec- 
tions have extensive radio and video holdings, 
as well as libraries of film publications, produc- 
tion information, and publicity materials. All 
are open to reasonable browsing and research 
by individuals, and all but the Library of 
Congress have a heavy program of public 
exhibition or circulation. 

To independent producers working to fund 
and distribute their films, the behavior of film 
archives may seem remote and impertinent. 
But the argument can be made that film 
collections hold a certain sway even over film 
finance. By ignoring some genres and 
conferring long-term value on others, archives 
influence the flow of funding as well as the 
preferences of distributors. Especially for non- 
mainstream work, archives are a distant but 
powerful patron. "When people look back at 
the twentieth century, television and film will 
be seen as having shaped consciousness, as 
well as being documents of consciousness," 
says UCLA's Rosen. Whose consciousness? 
Film archives are constantly expanding their 
holdings, but what are they acquiring? 

The short answer is, it depends. Jan- 
Christopher Horak, associate curator at the 
Eastman House notes, "Our archive has not 
bought any film for 10 or 12 years. Unfortu- 
nately, perhaps, much of our budget now goes 





toward transferring our nitrate film collection 
to acetate. We grow only by donations of 
prints." The situation at the Eastman House is 
the normal state of affairs among non-gov- 
ernment film collections. "We don't have any 
money to pay for acquisition," says Shelly 
Diekman, publicist for the Pacific Film Ar- 
chive. "Nearly all of our films were donated to 
us." Since budgets for acquisition are practi- 
cally nonexistent, these film collections stand 
awkwardly outside the profit-driven U.S. film 
economy, sometimes acquiring prints decades 
after the last audience has gone home. Most 
archives are expanding today only through the 
qualified generosity of copyright holders, and 
what they get is often a matter of what a 
producer is tired of paying to keep in storage. 

At the National Archives and the Library of 
Congress, in raw numbers the two largest film 
collections in the country, things work differ- 
ently. The National Archives stockpiles films 
that document the activities of the federal 
government. With the exception of a few 
privately-funded documentaries, this has 
meant films produced by the government it- 
self. Here, then, are the wartime propaganda 
shorts, the hygiene films shown to schoolchild- 
ren, the New Deal documentaries of the 
Public Works Administration, as well as thou- 
sands of other movies covering state visits, civ- 
il service training, and the activities of the 
Defense Department. Altogether, the Nation- 
al Archives are a resource for historical re- 
search, but not a great defender of innovative 
filmmaking. 

The Library of Congress, which is responsible 
for national proprietary records, has the legal 
right to demand deposit of a print from any 
filmmaker who desires U.S. copyright pro- 
tection. Hollywood studios and other big- 
budget producers deposit a print with the 
library as a routine matter. Yet filmmakers 
with less resources often register their work 



Gene Kelly in MGM's 1952 musical 
comedyS/ng/n' in ihe Rain. 

Courtesy IMP/GEH Stills Collection 



Gatling Gun Crew in 
Action, Thomas Alva 
Edison, 1897. 

Courtesy Library of Congress 
Paper Print Collection 



for copyright with a letter of intent or by sim- 
ply including the © insignia in the credits. 
"Many of those producers slip through the 
cracks," says Paul Spehr, assistant chief of the 
Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and 
Recorded Sound Division, referring to indepen- 
dent filmmakers, who often cannot afford or 
do not choose to deposit a print for copyright 
protection. 

The non-government film archives uni- 
formly claim to want to acquire all kinds of 
film. Since they only grow by attracting pri- 
vate bequests, however, this is more a public 
posture than an active policy. In fact, film ac- 




The Yellow Girl, Vitagraph, 1915. 

Photo: IMP/GEH Stills Collection 

quisition among such institutions has slowed 
down in recent years. "In the past our attitude 
was to cast the net very broadly, because so 
much material was being lost," says Rosen. 
"Now, we and everyone else are establishing 
more coherent and pointed selection criteria. 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



because of the expense of storage and the tre- 
mendous proliferation of product." 

The same narrowing of acquisitions has been 
taken by the Department of Film at the Muse- 
um of Modern Art, which began collecting 
reels in 1935. "We have gone back to our origi- 
nal mission, which was to collect internation- 
ally," says Eileen Bowser, curator of MoMA's 
film archive for more than a decade. MoMA 
houses one of the oldest and best-respected col- 
lections in the country, and the original Film 
Library was established, with a kind of mis- 
sionary zeal, by Iris Barry and her husband 
John Abbott who sought to include cinema in 
the museum's definition of modem art, in 
part by soliciting gifts of European films. Soon 
donations of films, primarily U.S. productions, 
began to flood the archive in a stream that 
continued for decades, much of it nitrate foot- 
age, the old and combustible film stock used 
before 1952. For years, MoMA has devoted 
large resources to preservation, transferring 
millions of feet of nitrate to more stable tri- 
acetate stock. Now, however, the museum is 
also acting to balance the Americanization of 
its collection by seeking out donations of for- 
eign work. With these and other activities — 
such as its vast exhibition schedule and its cir- 
culating film library which rents some 4,000 
films each year — MoMA has built a reputa- 
tion as possibly the most ecumenical defender 
of cinema history. 

The Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, Cali- 
fornia, is less interested in acquiring more 
movies than it is in showing off what it 




already has on file. From its beginning in 
1971, PFA was envisioned as a West Coast 
version of the Cinematheque Francais in 
Paris, and toward that end it now screens 
about 800 films a year at its University Art 
Museum Theater. The PFA collection is skew- 
ed in unusual directions and includes, among 
other things, the largest single group of Japan- 
ese films outside of Japan, a selection of films 
from the Soviet Republic of Georgia, and a 
strong representation of West Coast avant- 
garde films from the 1960s and '70s. As for 
new acquisitions, "We are running out of 




Citizen Kane, Orson 
Welles' film classic. 

Courtesy the Museum of Modern 
Art Film Stills Archive 



Let My People Live, 
director Edgar Ulmer's 
1938 film starring Rex 
Ingram. 

Courtesy IMP/GEH Stills 
Collection 



room," according to spokesperson Shelly Diek- 
man. "We welcome films from independents, 
but within the constraints of our storage 
space." 

Film archives are not accustomed to 
donations of prints from individual filmmak- 
ers. They typically grow in bulges on donations 
from distributors who have gone out of 
business or from private collectors who want 
to hand over their collections to obtain a tax 
write-off. Amid this free and thus far contin- 
uous flow of prints, institutional collections 
throughout the country have little incentive to 
approach small-scale producers for gifts of 
particular films. As a result, archives perhaps 
unwittingly reinforce the hegemony of 
Hollywood and its overseas conterparts (com- 
mercial studios abroad give freely of their 
films) and otherwise lend credibility to film- 
making in established genres. 

As one might expect, the archive of the 
University of California in Los Angeles is the 
general depository for Hollywood product. In 
less than 20 years the overall collection there 
has swollen to more than 36,000 films, in part 
from the generosity of the major studios 
which, it must be said, prefer to make new 
films and let someone else worry about taking 
care of the old. ULCA's collection has also 
benefited from the friendly consort of the 
National Center for Film and Video Prese- 
rvation at the American Film Institute in Los 
Angeles, whose own substantial holdings 
(21,000 films) are permanently loaned in 
parcels to film archives around the country. 
The center, which was formerly run by UCLA 
archive director Rosen, has been especially 
generous in its donations to the neighboring 
archive. As a result of this and its industry 
connections, UCLA has compiled the best 
record anywhere of the U.S. film industry. Yet 
the archive also holds an unusual group of 
films from the People's Republic of China, 
and, thanks to its fairly tolerant acquisition 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 




The Big Trail, the 1 930 western directed by 
Raoul Walsh and starring the young John 
Wayne (left). 

Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive 



For Whom the Bell Tolls, Sam Wood, 1943. 

Courtesy the UCLA Film and Television Archive 



policy, UCLA is in a good position to assemble 
in the coming years the most desirable collec- 
tion of films in the country. 

The National Center for Film and Video 
Preservation in Los Angeles, apart from its 
role as a generous film donor, is in the busi- 
ness of cataloguing and rehabilitating the 
huge stock of aging films and television pro- 
grams now languishing on shelves around the 
country. Funded by the National Endowment 
for the Arts and the American Film Institute, 
the center seeks to restore old prints and safe- 
guard the perishable products of the film and 
television industries from deterioration. Re- 
cently, the National Center began compiling 
what it calls the National Moving Image 
Database, a computer file that will eventually 
gather together information on all of the film 
and television holdings of archives and produ- 
cers in the United States, including credits, 
exhibition histories, and the whereabouts of 
negatives and copyright holders. This massive 
file could well become the authoritative 
source on film production and distribution his- 
tory in the U.S., eclipsing the otherwise partial 
records of even the largest libraries of moving 
image material. Whether this database may 
also strengthen the authority of exisiting ar- 
chives is a matter for debate, yet here is 
evidence of the rationalization of film ar- 
chives, which began 50 years ago as haphaz- 
ard assortments of private collections. 

It should be apparent, however, that whether 
a film is archived is entirely dependent on fac- 
tors external to filmmaking per se, such as its 
economic success, its favor among critics, its 
ideological pointedness, or, just as often, mere- 
ly whether a producer chooses to take care of 
the negative. Film archives in the United 
States would like to have a public profile as 
much as they would like to acquire more 
films, therefore, they tend to follow market- 
place trends in their collection habits. Ideo- 
logical and economic forces reign over ar- 
chives as much as they do over filmmaking 
and distribution. 

The national stockpile of the major film 
collections has largely been built according to 




standards laid down by successful private enter- 
prise and less often by those that refuse com- 
mercial values. Until this state of affairs is 
altered, which is unlikely, film archives will 
grow as they have — at the grace of well- 
financed benefactors, and not as an effort to 
recognize the whole range of cinema, its con- 



formism and its deviance, its successes and its 
commercial failures, its pleasures and its 
powers of criticism. 

Edward Ball is a critic living in New York 
City. 

6 Edward Ball 1987 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



CAN THIS PRODUCTION BE SAVED 



Debra Goldman 



A foundation has promised to fund my 
film — a drama about the relationship between 
a young girl and her grandmother who is con- 
fined to a nursing home. But the foundation 
tells me it cannot give me a grant directly; I 
must find a nonprofit, tax-exempt film organ- 
ization to act as my "fiscal umbrella." Unfor- 
tunately, there are no such organizations 
around my area. What should I do? 

Your problem is common to independent pro- 
ducers. Most funding agencies cannot give 
grants directly to individuals, but are required 
by the Internal Revenue Service to channel 
the funds through an organization registered 
as nonprofit, and, in most cases, tax-exempt, 
which will take fiscal responsibility for the 
grant. You have several options to consider in 
finding a fiscal sponsor (also called "um- 
brella," "conduit," "agent"). 

The most impractical solution would be to 
incorporate yourself as a nonprofit organiza- 
tion — a time-consuming and potentially costly 
process that is probably only worthwhile if you 
have a large project or plan to produce 
charitably-funded films on a consistent basis 
in the future. The better alternative is to find 
a fiscal sponsor. This organization does not 
have to be local or a media organization. Any 
nonprofit in good standing that is willing and 
able to take on your project can serve as an 
umbrella. But there are a number of factors 
for you to consider in your search for the right 
organization. Earlier this year the Center for 
Arts Information published Sponsorships: A 
Guide for Video and Filmmakers, written by 
Laura Green and myself. It is the only com- 
prehensive guide to the complicated, nonstan- 
dardized process of sponsorships. Here are a 
few of the booklet's tips for producers on find- 
ing the right sponsor: 

At minimum, your sponsor should agree to 
submit your grant application^ ) in its name 
to funding agencies. (You will probably do 
the actual physical preparation and mailing of 
the application, but the sponsor will lend its 
name, legal status, and any other necessary 
documentation the funder requires, such as an 
audited financial statement.) If you receive 
the grant, the funder will write the check to 
your sponsor. Your sponsor will, in turn, 
dispense the money to you, taking a small 
percentage of the grant as an administrative 
fee. A sponsor may elect to do more: help 
with fundraising, provide in-kind administra- 
tive support, allow you to use their bulk mail 
rates and the like. These services should be 



outlined in your letter of agreement with 
the sponsor. 

Any type of nonprofit could provide the 
basics of sponsorship. But consider several 
factors in deciding which is the best for you. 

Media or nonmedia organizations? Media 
organizations may be more familiar with the 
erratic cash needs and vagaries of film and 
video production, and be able to provide you 
with specialized media resources and infor- 
mation. However, an organization whose pur- 
pose is close to your project — such as a group 
that deals with the aged or women's issues — 
may take a special interest in the project and 
offer access to resources and information par- 
ticular to your subject matter. 

Geography: Nonprofits are registered by the 
IRS, so they can funnel funds from anywhere 
in the U.S. Some funders, though, will only 
give grants to recipients in certain cities or 
states. A local funder may be more conven- 
ient, especially if emergency checks are need- 
ed, and you will be more likely to develop a 
close working relationship with a sponsor in 
your area than a sponsor-by-phone. 

Organization and working style: Make sure 
the sponsoring organization is professionally 
and efficiently run, and the staff is reasonably 
accessible to you. Good bookkeeping methods 
and respect for the details of funding (filing 
reports, timeliness, etc.) are important to in- 
sure that your project is not jeopardized by ad- 
ministrative sloppiness. The sponsor should 
also be willing to remind you to write acknow- 
ledgements to funders, show you how to keep 
clean books, and provide other tips so you can 
keep up good funder relations. 

Experience: There is usually an inverse 
relationship between your sponsor's familiar- 
ity with media production and the work you 
have to do. The less your sponsor understands 
about budgets and production finances, the 
more effort you'll have to devote to acquaint- 
ing them with the process. 

Finance: Financial stability and healthy cash 
flow are a must. You should receive your 
requested checks in a timely fashion, with 
only the reasonable amount of bureaucractic 
delay. You should feel confident that the spon- 
sor — and your money — will be around years 
later when your project is finally completed. 
Some sponsors may also be willing to give ad- 
vances prior to the receipt of the grant or pay 
vendors directly rather than funnel the money 
through you. 

Ownership: You, the artist, should retain 
ownership of any noncommissioned sponsored 
project. The sponsor should receive screen ac- 
knowledgement on the completed film or 
tape, but it has no ownership or distribution 



rights over your project. 

For more information, consult CAI's book- 
let. There you'll find tips on finding potential 
sponsors, a list of research resources, sugges- 
tions on how to maintain a good working 
relationship, a review of the tax implications 
of a sponsored grant, and sample letters of 
agreement. It costs $6, and is available from 
the Center for Arts Information, 1285 Ave- 
nue of the Americas, 3rd fl., New York, NY 
10019; and at AIVF, 625 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10012. 



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• Minimum premium $250 

• $250 deductible per occurence 

• Automatic $2,500 coverage of rented/ 
leased equipment 

For an application, write Ethan Young, 
Membership Services, AIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012. 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

ATVF offers its members excellent group 
medical and life insurance plans, admin- 
istered by The Entertainment Industry 
Group Insurance Trust (TEIGIT). Our 
comprehensive medical plan offers: 

• $200 deductible 

• 80% co-insurance 

•yearly out-of-pocket cost set at $1,000 
maximum & $1,000,000 maximum life- 
time benefit 

Other plans are available, including disa- 
bility income insurance with a $500 
monthly benefit. 

To join ATVF or for more information, 
write AIVF Membership Services, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York NY 10012, 
or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400. 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



FESTIVALS 



WORLD WITHOUT END: 

THE MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL 




Gordon Hitchens 



The tenth annual Margaret Mead Film Festi- 
val at the American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, New York, screened 63 documentaries 
depicting 40 cultures worldwide during its 
event of September 14-18. Of these, 35 films 
had New York premieres. Films offered to the 
festival numbered 460. 

The festival, founded in 1977 by the world- 
famous anthropologist Margaret Mead and 
her colleagues, "is very much in the spirit of 
Mead's approach to anthropology," said 
Malcolm Arth, festival programmer and 
chair of the museum's Department of Edu- 
cation, which oversees the event. "She worked 
to bring anthropology to large audience, to 
expose them to cross-cultural differences. She 
wanted people to become sensitized, to look at 
their own behavior and attitudes with a more 
sophisticated eye." Since her death the festival 
has become an annual tribute to her pio- 
neering work in pictorial documentation of 
world culture. Mead had encouraged anthro- 
pologists to use filmmaking to produce visual 
records, supplementing their scholarly re- 
search. Due in substantial part to Mead's 
efforts, cinema and video are routinely used 
today in ethnographic studies. 

To celebrate the tenth anniversary, 16 older 



works from earlier Mead festivals were shown 
in a special retrospective. These included films 
by ethnographer-producers Jean Rouch, Robert 
Gardner, John Marshall, and David and Judith 
MacDougall. Films by wife-husband team Mar- 
garet Mead and Gregory Bateson were also 
seen, including their Trance And Dance in Bali, 
(1938) and Childhood Rivalry in Bali and New 
Guinea (1952). In addition, the festival made its 
first-time appearance on television whenWNET- 
New York programmed a retrospective of 10 
titles in eight weekly programs. 

Anthropological film has changed drastically 
since the days of James A. Fitzpatrick's Tra- 
veltalks, the adventure pseudo-documentaries 
of Martin and Osa Johnson, and the Frank 
Buck Bring 'Em Back Alive series, which for 
decades were Americans' only exposure to 
foreign peoples. These films emphasized so- 
called primitives, with images of savages with 
bones through their noses and strange scari- 
fication of face and body, either naked or 
wearing unusual costumes, feathered headdress, 
and adornments. One sensed the filmmaker as a 
distant outsider, who regarded tribal peoples as 
specimens, exotic curiosities. 

The 1986 program reflected the developments 
in the field. "The Margaret Mead Festival 
considers high quality documentaries of any 
length dealing with people in real situations in 
any part of the world," explains Arth. "We seek 



Indian customs of death and cremation are 
documented in Robert Gardner's Forest of 
Bliss, which screened at the Margaret Mead 
Film Festival. 

Photo: Jane Tuckerman 

films which reveal human behavior in any 
cultural setting. People sometimes forget that 
anthropologists can be as interested in life in 
Kansas as in Katmandu. As many as a third of 
the selected films focus on western cultures, 
including the United States." Last year such 
films included Kirby Dick's Privates Practices: 
The Story of a Sexual Surrogate; Stephen 
Okazaki's Unfinished Business; and A Dollar A 
Day, Ten Cents A Dance, by Mark Schwartz 
and Geoffrey Dunn. In all, 17 of the new films 
offered, or 40 percent of the total, were made by 
U.S. independents. Other nations represented 
included the U.S.S.R., Argentina, Australia, 
Great Britain, Italy, Hungary, Papua New 
Guinea, Japan, Poland, and Indonesia. 

Like ethnographic film, the festival, too, has 
come a long way. For its first several years, its 
future was uncertain, "a year-to-year operation," 
stated Arth. "As Margaret Mead and I stood on 
that stage, we couldn't be sure the festival's 
budget would be renewed. We had not yet be- 
come institutionalized. But now we have a 
solid commitment from the museum, the festi- 
val is truly a part of the New York cultural 
scene, serving a national, even an international 
purpose. Whatever it takes to make it continue 
will be done, and our longevity is assured. 
We're optimistic." 

The event is financed solely by the museum 
except for an annual grant of $8,000 from the 
New York State Council on the Arts, pledged 
through 1987. Once free to museum members 
and to the general public entering the museum 
on its "pay what you wish" policy, in 1987 
admission will cost $5. Limited funding, how- 
ever, continues to keep video out of the 
festival. The technology, which is "cheaper than 
film and uses less elaborate gear, has democ- 
ratized the process of filmmaking." Arth 
acknowledges. But as the small staff is already 
swamped by over 500 hours of prescreening. the 
festival is forced to limit the event to film. 

Films screened in the museum's 1000- and 
3000-seat theaters are shown once during the 
five-day event, while those in the smaller 90- 
and 115-seat auditoriums receive encores. 
"Ideally we'd like the filmmaker present tor 
every screening," said Jonathan Slack, who. 
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coprogrammer of the event for the last few 
years. In 1986, he estimated 85 percent of the 
films were accompanied by their makers, who 
appeared in question-and-answer sessions fol- 
lowing the screenings. "The atmosphere lends 
itself to discussion. We've moved the festival 
headquarters nearer the screening rooms to 
make for better interaction." The festival pro- 
vides small travel stipends to filmmakers to 
defray costs, as well as unofficial assistance 
that makes it possible for many to attend. 
"Last year I had a lot of people sleeping on 
my living room floor," Stack admitted. 

He estimated the event attracted between 
8.000 to 10.000 in 1986, including "people 
from the film community, the anthropology 
community, special interest groups, like those, 
say, interested in Native Americans, and those 
who are just curious. More than half these 
films don't get other showings in New York, so 
it's the only chance to see a broad range of 
ethnographic films." 

Perhaps because the festival celebrated its 
tenth anniversary last year, "We had the best 
press coverage ever, with articles in the Vill- 
age Voice and the New York Times" Stack 
reports. Thanks to the festival's connection to 
the museum, the event also has formidable 
publicity resources of its own, such as advance 
coverage in the magazine Natural History, 
which reaches hundreds of thousands, and the 
museum's own periodical Rotunda, read by 
40,000 New Yorkers. However, he adds, films 
rarely get reviewed per se, noting, "This is an 
educational event, not a film festival in the 
strictest sense." Nevertheless, for filmmakers 
willing to make the effort, a New York appear- 
ance in the festival can lead to other opportun- 
ities. Following the festival Private Practices 
moved to the Bleeker Street Cinema. Susan 
Fanshell, maker of A Weave of Time, "really 
used the festival to push her film," Stack 
recalls. "It gave her a film a send-off. Al- 
though we're not in a position to promote 
films ourselves, we encourage producers to use 
the festival as a context for promotion." 

Arth maintains international contacts for the 
Mead Festival, exchanging ideas and titles with 
producers, anthropologists, institutions and fes- 
tivals, including the Festival Dei Popoli. Flor- 
ence; Cinema de Reel, Paris; and the Nyon 
Festival, Switzerland. You'll usually find repre- 
sentatives from these festivals present at the 
New York event as well. Says Arth. "Anthropol- 
ogy is interested in our differences, but also in 
our sameness, behavior that unites us as a com- 
mon bond. Sometimes in these foreign peoples, 
who are not alien to us, we recognize ourselves 
and say, 'Oh yes, that's what we do, too.'" 

Gordon Hitchens is a journalist and a professor 
of film at C. W. Post/Long Island University. 

The 1987 Margaret Mead Film Festival will be 
held September 14-17. Formats: 35mm and 
16mm. 3/4" and 112" video OK for preview. No 
fee. Submission deadline: now through April 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



30. Filmmakers will be notified about 
selection in May. Contact Malcolm Arth or 
Jonathan Stack, Margaret Mead Film 
Festival, American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, Department of Education, Central Park 
W. at 79th St., New York, NY 10024; (212) 
873-1070. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Coco Fusco. Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement, and since some details 
change faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or tapes. If 
your experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve our 
reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Focus Awards, August 26, LA. $60,000 in cash & 
cars awarded to student films under 30 min. Japanese 
auto manufacturer Nissan is the major sponsor of the 
more than 20 awards, which incl. prizes for editing, 
cinematography & feature-length screenplay. A 
favorite launching pad for Columbia & NYU film 
students. Deadline: May 1. Format: 16mm only. 
Contact Sam Katz, Focus, 1 140 Ave. of the Americas, 
New York, NY 10036; (212) 575-0270. 

Hometown USA Video Festival, July 16, regional. 
Sponsored by National Federation of Local Cable 
Programmers. Dual award certificates in 31 cats, (now 
incl. senior citizen, documentary public awareness & 
music video) for volunteer- & professionally-produced 
programs. Entries must have premiered on community 
access TV & have appeared on local cable channels in 
the last yr. 1200 entries submitted in 1986 from 302 
cities in 36 states. Videos are screened at 9 NFLCP 
regional sites & the final judging takes place in 
Decatur, GA, from May 11-24. The 3-hr Hometown 
USA Bicycle Tour package — a compilation tape of 
selected winners — rents to access centers nation- 
wide. Deadline: March 15. Formats: 3/4", VHS, 
Betamax I & II. Fees: $20 for volunteer pro- 
ductions, $30 for professional. For fest sites & 
further info, contact Julie Omelchuck, NFLCP, 906 
Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003; 
(202) 544-7272. 

Houston International Film Festival, April 17- 
26, TX. After several yrs of persistent criticism of 
inflated fees, unpaid prize money & excessive PR 
hype, festival director J. Hunter Todd is now 
making a new pitch to filmmakers outside Holly- 
wood. Todd says he's lowered fees for fledging 
indies, added 2 new $1000 student awards & created 
several new subcategories, like shorts, documentary 
& experimental. One problem yet to be overcome: 
chronic underattendance. In 1986 300 films were 
selected from 21 14 entries by a selection committee 
dominated by local TV people. Seminars held on 
financing, screenplays, distribution & directing. A 
Gregory Peck retrospective promised for 1987. 
Deadline: March 15. Fees: $25 for students & 



independents; $35-50 for production companies. 
Formats: 3/4", VHS, 16mm, 35mm. Contact HIFF 
Entry Director, Box 56566, Houston, TX 77256; 
(213)965-9955. 

Humboldt Film & Video Festival, April 6-11, 
Areata, CA. The oldest student-run int'l festival in 
the country will have Peter Rose, Pat Oleszko & 
Charles Lyman on hand this year to judge its 20th 
annual competition. $1800 in awards given to films 
in all genres, incl. a top prize for best surrealist 
film. Judges see all entries & critiques are sent to 
filmmakers. Max. running time: 60 min. Entry 
fees: $15 per film. Formats: 16mm silent or optical 
sound, 3/4" & VHS. Contact Bonnie Barnes, Miri- 
am Labes & Michael Fox, Coordinators, Humboldt 
Film Festival, Humboldt State Univer., Theatre 
Arts Dept., Areata, CA 95521; (707) 826-3566. 

National Psychology Awards for Excellence in 
Media, August 27, NYC. Two $1000 prizes award- 
ed to films on subjects relating to psych. Cats.: 
news/documentary & entertainment. Material must 
have been produced for the general public within 
the last yr. No self-help or instructional films. 
Emphasis is on network & public TV programming, 
but indies have been represented in the past. 
Producers of series can submit video of 1 complete 
program w/ representative clips of the rest. Judging 
panel composed of 3 psychologists & 3 TV 
journalist/producers.Winners flown to American 
Psychological Association convention for awards 
reception. Deadline: April 15. Formats: 1/2", 3/4", 
16mm. Contact Carolyn Gammon, APA, 1200 17th 
St. NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 955-7710. 

Newark Black Film Festival, June 24- July 29, NJ. 
Though the emphasis is on commercial cinema, the 
festival incl. a competition & accepts entries by 
independents. $500 awarded to top films in each of 
the following cats.: experimental, animation, nar- 
rative & documentary. Steven Spielberg's The Color 
Purple, John Sayles' The Brother from Another 
Planet, & Peter Davis' Winnie & Nelson Mandela 
were among the 11 films screened for free at the 
Newark Museum in '86. No fees. Deadline: April. 
Formats: 16mm only. Contact Celeste Bateman, the 
Newark Museum, Box 540, Newark, NJ 07110; 
(201)596-6550. 

New York City Experimental Film & Video Fes- 
tival, late May-early June. Hunter Yoder's show- 
case for experimental video & hybrid film & video 
production is now in its 6th year. 1986 judges 
Robert Haller, Bob Harris & Jeanette Vulcolo 
awarded $200 prizes to 10 films & videos chosen 
from 230 entries. Winners shown at Global 
Village, the Donnell Library & the Staten Island 
Institute of Arts & Sciences. Yoder also offers 
rental packages after festival. '86 winners incl. 
Deborah Wanner's She Stories, Laurie McDonald's 
Three Worlds Apart & Barbara Hammer's Optic 
Nerve. Fee: $20. Formats: 3/4" (VHS & Beta OK 
for preselection). Deadline: April 15. Contact Hun- 
ter Yoder, NYC Experimental Video & Film Festi- 
val, 178 Union St., Brooklyn. NY 11231; (718) 
858-3140. 

Sinking Creek Film & Video Celebration. June 9- 
13. Nashville, TN. Now in its 18th year, this event 
held at Vanderbilt University brings students & 
working producers together for an intensive cine 



The Suffolk County 

Motion Picture and 

Television Commission 

presents 



SUFFOLK 

COUNTY 

FILM & VIDEO 

COMPETITION 

Call for Entries 

for 

1987 



Entry Forms: 

SUFFOLK COUNTY 

MOTION PICTURE/ TV 

COMMISSION 

Office of Economic Development 

Dennison Building 

Veterans Memorial Highway 

Hauppauge, New York 11788 

516-360-4800 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



INSURANCE BROKERS 
SINCE C\ 1899 




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matic celebration. Participants ranging from high 
school students to professionals meet for technical 
workshops & a special program dedicated to the 
work of 1 filmmaker who is always on hand for 
discussions. For competition, films are grouped 
according to age of producers, not genres; $6,000 in 
prize money given. All the films selected are 
rented by the festival at $1 per minute. Last year 50 
were chosen from 250 films submitted. Formats: 
16mm (1/2" video OK for preselection of longer 
films). Deadlines: films over 60 min., April 15; 
under 60 min., April 23. Fees: $19-30. Contact 
Mary Jane Coleman, Sinking Creek Film Celebra- 
tion, 1250 Shiloh Rd., Greenville, TN 37743; (615) 
638-6524. Housing inquiries should be directed to 
Dean James Sandlin, Sarratt Student Center, Vander- 
bilt University, Nashville, TN 37240; (615) 322- 
2471. 

Student Academy Awards, early June, LA. Spon- 
sored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & 
Sciences, this competition offers 4 $1000 prizes to 
student films in animation, documentary, dramatic, 
experimental cats. Academy members serve as 
judges. Compilation reel of winning films is sent 
on university tour after the festival. School 
projects only. Max. running time: 60 min. For- 
mats: 16mm, 35mm, 70mm. Deadline: April 1. 
Contact Richard Miller. Academy of Motion Pic- 
ture Arts & Sciences, 89 Wilshire Blvd.. Beverly 
Hills, CA 9021 1; (213) 278-8990. 

Suffolk & Nassau County Film & Video Festival, 
June 1-28, Huntington, NY. The 4th annual event, 
sponsored by the Motion Picture /TV Bureau of the 
Suffolk Co. Office of Economic Development, was 
once limited to Long Island themes & residents. 
Now it is open to filmmakers nationwide on any 
subject, but promotional & historical material on 
Li's Nassau & Suffolk Counties still welcome. 
Cats. incl. arts & entertainment, sales & market- 
ing, doc ./information & student. Films are judged 
by members of the Suffolk County Film Com- 
mission. $2500 in cash awards is divided 8 ways, 
plus additional prizes of equipment & services. 
After screenings at 3 theaters in Huntington, top 
films are shown in Port Jefferson, East Hampton & 
broadcast on Long Island cable television. Deadline: 
Apr. 30. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4" & 
VHS. Entry fees: $50 for professionals, $25 for 
students. Contact Christopher Cooke. Dennison 
Bldg., 11th fl., Veterans Memorial Hwy., 
Happauge, NY 11788; (516) 360-4800. 



FOREIGN 

Cambridge Film Festival, late July, England. The 
11th annual film section of the Cambridge Arts 
Festival showcases int'l art cinema & features a 
retrospective of 1 auteur each yr. Deadline: April 
15. Formats: 16mm, 35mm. Contact David Jakes, 
Cambridge Film Festival, Arts Cinema, 8 Market 
Passage, Cambridge, England; tel. (0223) 31694; 
telex 81574 CAMARTS. 

Moscow International Film Festival, June -July, 
USSR. This biennial ranks w/ Cannes. Berlin & 
Venice for prestige & commercial value on the 
festival circuit. U.S. independent docs are often 
shown, but feature selection is slanted toward Hol- 
lywood. Three competitive cats.: 35mm features. 



shorts & docs & childrens' films — plus several non- 
competitive sections. We hope you have better luck 
getting information about fest deadlines from the 
Soviet Embassy than we did. In USSR contact Y. 
Khodjaev, Director, Directorate of International 
Film Festivals, Sovinterfest, Sosinko of the USSR, 
10 Khohklovsky Per., Moscow 109028, USSR; tel. 
297 76 45; telex 41 1263 fest SU. 

Munich International Film Festival, June 20-28, 
W. Germany. This ever-growing venue for int'l 
cinema consistently showcases U.S. indies. 1986 
feature selections incl. Donna Deitch's Desert 
Hearts , Bill Sherwood's Parting Glances, Ross Mc- 
Elwee's Sherman's March & Lizzie Borden's Work- 
ing Girls. Susana Munoz & Lourdes Portillo's Las 
Madres de la Plaza de Mayo & Carlos Ortiz's 
Mac hi to: A Latin Legacy were among the documen- 
tary selections. Recently added Film Festival 
Exchange matches producers with distributors, TV 
buyers, etc. who want to do business. One impor- 
tant caveat for this non-competitive event: If you 
enter your film in Munich in the summer, you can't 
show it at Berlin the following winter, where all 
screenings must be W. German premieres. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm. 3/4" & VHS NTSC. Contact Ulla 
Rapp for information about deadlines ASAP at 
Turkenstrasse 93, D-8000 Munich 40, W. Germany; 
tel. 089 39-301 1/12; telex 521 4674 im f d. 

Setmana Internacional de Cinema de Barcelona, 
June, Spain. Whereas this event was once intended 
to "promote cooperation between film & televi- 
sion," the more recent emphasis is on commercially 
viable art cinema, primarily European. Cats.: doc, 
fiction/drama, series, experimental, plus TV movies 
& shorts. 4 "Lady w/ the Umbrella" prizes award- 
ed, plusl audience-choice prize; 3 medals given to 
shorts. Films in English must have Spanish, Cata- 
lan or French subtitles. No entry fee. Deadline: 
April 30. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, U-matic, PAL, 
Secam or NTSC. Contact Jose Luis Guarner, 29 
Setmana Internacional de Cinema de Barcelona, 
Avenida Maria Christina S/N, Palacio No. 1, 
Barcelona 4, Spain; tel. 2233101. 

Taormina International Film Festival, Italy, 
June. Set in a resort town in Sicily, this festival 
emphasizes Hollywood fare more than inde- 
pendents, though a few have made it into compe- 
tition. Primarily for films slated for Italian re- 
lease. Contact Festival delle Nazione Taormina, 
Via Calabria ISOL 301-bis, Ente Provinciate del 
Turismo, Messina, Italy, or Dir. Gugliemo Biraghi, 
Vis P.S. Mancini 12 Roma, Italy. 

Velden Amateur Film Festival of Nations, late 
May, Austria. Well-established gov't-supported 
event for amateur shorts under 30 min. Prizes given 
in documentary, travel, games, & fantasy/ experi- 
mental cats for films in 16mm & super 8. Partici- 
pants must agree to allow their films to be aired on 
Austrian TV. Tourist packages offered to atten- 
dants, incl. "free admission to the gambling casino 
at Velden." Deadline: April 30. Contact W. Eisner 
or Hans Falle. Organisationskitec Kurdirektion 
A=9220 Velden a. W.S.. Kartner Kustura: tel. 
04274/2105: telex 42-2604. 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




Renee Tajima 



Studios are not the only ones looking to home 
video to give their products a second life. 
Sheldon Rochlin's 1965 documentary Vali: 
The Witch of Positano has been rereleased 
by Mystic Fire Video, Rochlin's New York- 
based independent label. The project began 
some 30 years ago, when coproducer George 
Plimpton discovered the seductive Australian 
artist Vali Myers in Paris, dancing to the 
rhythms of African bush songs. When Plim- 
pton met Rochlin, then a young filmmaker, at 
the 1963 Venice Film Festival, the two deter- 
mined to make a film about Vali, following 
her to the mountains along the Amalfi coast 
of Italy. There, in a tiny hermit's house with a 
domed roof, Vali lived as a child of nature: 
painted like a Paupan, dressed like a gypsy, 
"weaving dreams, casting spells, howling at 
the full moon with her white rabbit." The 
cassette is available by mail order. Vali: The 
Witch of Positano: Mystic Fire Video, 24 
Horatio St., New York, NY 10014; (212) 645- 
2733. 

After giving concessions to the George A. 
Hormel Company 16 times in the past 23 
years, the members of the United Food and 
Commercial Workers' Local P-9 in Austin, 
Minnesota, decided they'd had enough. In Au- 
gust of 1985, they began a protracted strike 



that electrified the U.S. labor movement. How 
were the P-9 strkers able to shut down 
production at Hormel plants from Seattle to 
Dallas to Atlanta? Why were they able to 
hold out for seven months in the face of the 
National Guard and a powerful corporation? 
We're Not Gonna Take It, a 15-minute 
home video by Pamela Yates, tells the inside 
story of P-9's fight against concessions. The 
tape is the third in a series of low-cost, high- 
quality videos distributed by Skylight Pictures 
to bring political struggles into people's homes. 
The first two were /'// Vote On, about the 
Federal government's efforts to thwart black 
voting rights in Alabama, and Who Are the 
Contras?, an introduction and behind-the- 
scenes look at the U.S. -backed anti-Sandinista 
rebels. We're Not Gonna Take It: Skylight 
Pictures, 330 W. 42nd St., 24th fl., New York, 
NY 10036; (212) 947-5333. 

Realizations Productions has completed 
shooting on A Mistaken Charity, directed 
by C.R. Porty and produced by Bette Craig. 
The one-hour drama, based on a short story 
by New England writer Mary Wilkins Free- 
man, was shot on location in the Massa- 
chusetts towns of North Adams and Williams- 
town. Set at the turn-of-the-century, the film 
stars Anne Pitoniak and Kate Wilkinson as 
two elderly sisters whose neighbors arrange for 
their care in a home for retired ladies. The 
Shattuck sisters, however, don't appreciate the 



Richard Lift (right) plays Streck, the evil tenant- 
basher of Jacob Burkhardt's new feature 
Landlord Blues. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



gesture and run away to return to their own 
home. A Mistaken Charity is slated for 
American Playhouse's spring season. A Mis- 
taken Charity: Realizations, 100 E. 17th St., 
New York, NY 10003; (212) 505-5025, 505- 
5026. 

The May 1 march of 80,000 through the 
streets of El Salvador is the departure point 
for Dateline: San Salvador, a look at the 
broadening public dissent in the war-torn 
Central American country. Pamela Cohen 
produced and directed this 30-minute video- 
tape under the auspices of Camino Film Pro- 
jects, the social change media organization 
formerly known as Communications: El Salva- 
dor. Dateline incorporates archival footage to 
bring El Salvador's current crisis into focus, 
including the shocking on-camera assas- 
sination of a student during the 1980 gov- 
ernment attack on the National University. 
Interviews with Salvadorans from all walks of 
life — members of the Mothers and Families of 
the Disappeared, refugees on the outskirts of 
the capital, and the leadership of the National 
Unity of Salvadorean Workers, the new labor 
coalition — tell of continued government re- 
pression. Dateline: San Salvador: Camino 
Film Projects, Box 291575, Los Angeles, CA 
90029; (213) 461-7305. 

In 1980 Peggy Stern directed a short black- 
and-white film about Stephanie, a lively and 
unusually candid 13-year-old living in Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts. Five years later. Stem 
returned to find Stephanie as she began her 
senior year in high school, facing an uncertain 
future. The result is a one-hour documentary 
film of a U.S. teenager's dreams and disap- 
pointments as she journeys through adole- 
scence. The cameras follow Stephanie atten- 
ding — and cutting — classes, capturing her 
visits with the school disciplinary officer and 
her date to the senior prom. By depicting the 
world into which Stephanie and those like her 
withdraw, the film provides insight into the 
lives of those who become lost within the 
system. Stephanie premiered at the 1986 Lon- 
don International Film Festival. Stephanie: 
Peggy Stem, 205 Mulberry St., New York. NY 
10012; (212) 226-5725. 

Doris Chase has completed Dear Papa, the 
second in a six-part series of video dramas 
entitled By Herself. The 30-minute tape fea- 
tures the mother-daughter relationship of 
Ann Jackson and Roberta Wallach, as it tells 
of their differing views of the man who is 
"papa" to one and "gramps" to the other. 
Dear Papa, produced with assistance from the 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



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Media Alliance and New York Foundation for 
the Arts, has been invited to screen at the 
1987 Berlin Film Festival and Filmex, and 
has already been shown at the London Film 
Festival. Dear Papa: Doris Chase Productions, 
222 W. 23rd St., Ste. 722, New York, NY 
10011; (212) 243-3700. 

While southern Califomians prepared to 
celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday last year, 
5,000 homeless people wandered the streets of 
Los Angeles' westside. During that week, 
South Bay Newsreel brought their plight to 
local cable systems throughout the area in the 
30-minute tape Homeless on the Westside. 
Produced by David Hunt and Toni Flynn, the 
documentary lets the homeless speak for 
themselves. South Bay Newsreel brings grass- 
roots television to southern California, address- 
ing issues that are of local focus but national 
concern. Two other recent programs looked at 
the development of railroad land in Hermosa 
Beach and a proposed plan to drop billions of 
gallons of wastewater sludge off the coast of 
Orange County. Homeless on the Westside: 
South Bay Newsreel, 206 So. Fuller, #104, Los 
Angeles, CA 90036; (213) 931-2903. 

Principal photography has been completed 
on Landlord Blues, a new independent 
feature about regular folks fighting for a fair 
shake in the big city. Filmmaker Jacob Burk- 
hardt, who wrote and directed this funny, real- 
istic tale of tyranny and tenacity, adds a mod- 
ern twist to the age-old story of beleaguered 
tenants versus the unscrupulous landlord. 
George (played by Mark Boone, Jr.,), the easy- 
going and impetuous owner of a local bike 
shop, and his girlfriend Viv (Raye Donnell of 
She's Gotta Have It), struggle with the money- 
grubbing Streck (Richard Litt), an unethical 
villain of a landlord who will stop at nothing 
to rid the neighborhood of little guys like 
George. Finally he and his friends hatch a 
harebrained scheme to undermine the shifty 
Streck, ultimately getting what they want, but 
not the way they want it. Set in the gritty 
milieu of New York's Lower Eastside, Land- 
lord Blues also features singer Nona Hendryx 
in a supporting role as George's hip, street- 
smart lawyer Sal Viscuzzo. Burkhardt, who is 
shooting for a spring release date, is seeking 
additional financing to complete the 95- 
minute feature. Landlord Blues: Jacob Burk- 
hardt, Landlord Pictures, Inc., 201 E. 4th St., 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 533-9473. 



MOVING? 
LET US KNOW. 

It takes four to six weeks to 

process an address change, 

so please notify us in 

advance. 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



SUMMARY OF THE AIVF/FIVF 
BOARD MINUTES 



The board of directors of the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers met at 
the New World Foundation qn December 19, 
1986. 

Executive director Sapadin opened the 
meeting with the announcement that the four 
candidates the board had invited to come on 
the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film board — Adrianne Benton, Lisa Frigand, 
Steve Savage, and Richard Lorber — had ac- 
cepted [see FIVF board minutes below]. The 
staff then reported on their recent activities, 
followed by membership and advocacy com- 
mittee reports. Regarding membership, Robin 
Reidy reported that chairperson Joyce Bolin- 
ger is planning an April seminar in Chicago, 
sponsored by the Center for New Television 
and the Chicago Area Film/Video Network, 
at which Lillian Jimenez and Sapadin will be 
featured speakers. 

Loni Ding reported that the advocacy com- 
mittee meeting was attended by five board 
members and four general members. In its con- 
sideration of the Corproation for Public Broad- 
casting's upcoming content review of Public 
Broadcasting Service public affairs program- 
ming, the committee concluded a study admi - 
nistered by the presidentially-appointed CPB 
board is inherently wrong and will have a chill- 
ing effect on programming. Therefore they re- 
commended Sapadin write letters to the House 
and Senate communications committees and dis- 
cuss the issue with other industry leaders. The 
committee then considered the request of Marc 
Weiss, executive producer of the proposed PBS 
series The American Documentary, that the 
AIVF board write a letter to CPB urging it to 
fund the full $260,000 requested for the series; 
$150,000 was granted [see "Sequels" in this 
issue]. After heated debate, the committee re- 
commended by a vote of five to two that two 
letters be sent: one to CPB urging full funding, 
with qualification that the board does not view 
the series as an ideal model for funding indepen- 
dents within public television, and another to ex- 
ecutive director Dave Davis requesting that inde- 
pendent producer representatives be added to 
the station representatives on the series' board. 

The issue of supporting letters for the series 
was then taken up by the full board under the 
new business agenda with Marc Weiss present. 
Another heated discussion followed, in which 
those in favor argued that the series will help 
remedy the longstanding problems of minimal 
carriage and payment for independent work 
acquired by PBS; those opposed objected to 
more Program Fund money going to a station 
consortium and the lack of independent con- 
trol over the series. After going into executive 
session, the board accepted the committee's 
recommendation to send a letter to CPB (four 

MARCH 1987 



in favor, two opposed, one abstention) and to 
Dave Davis (five in favor, two opposed). 
In other new business: 

1. The board certified Deanne Morse to take 
the board position of the late Leo Dratfield. 

2. Unanimous approval of the motion that 
the board present an amendment of bylaws to 
permit chapter formation to AIVF members 
at the annual membership meeting this spring. 

3. Unanimous approval of moving the Indie 
Awards from the spring to the fall, as 
AIVF's fiscal year ends in the spring. A task 
force was formed to investigate the possibility 
of another kind of social event for the spring 
to coincide with the conference of the Nation- 
al Association of Media Art Centers and the 
American Film/Video Festival. 

4. As nine of the board's 1 1 members now 
live outside New York, it was resolved that 
Bart Weiss look into the possibility of the 
board occasionally meeting by conference call. 

5. Sapadin suggested, in light of AIVF's na- 
tional growth and visibility, the organization 
change its name to the National Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers. The 
board's consensus was that the matter was 
worth exploring. 

The next AIVF board meeting is scheduled 
for March 12 and 13 at the AIVF offices. 
These are public meetings and members are 
encouraged to attend. 

Following adjournment of the morning 
meeting of the AIVF board, the FIVF board 
convened in the afternoon. Under old busi- 
ness, the board unanimously approved one- 
year terms for non-elected board members 
Lisa Frigand, who expressed her desire to 
help FIVF's corporate fundraising effort; 
Steve Savage, who is interested in membership 
strategies and The Independent; Adrianne 
Benton, who offered to lend assistance to 
FIVF's foundation development; and Richard 
Lorber, who has previously expressed interest 
in helping with marketing, membership devel- 
opment, and in contributing his expertise in 
syndication and distribution to FIVF's semi- 
nar program. 

On the new business agenda, Sapadin reported 
that he has been discussing with the Benton 
Foundation the possibility of FIVF adminis- 
tering the Donor Advised Grant program pre- 
viously administered by the the Film Fund. 
Although there was some concern about the 
appropriateness of the FIVF's board involve- 
ment in funding decisions, the board unanim- 
ously approved continued discussions between 
Sapadin and the Benton Foundation to ex- 
plore the possibilities. 

The next FIVF board meeting will be held 
on March 13. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 29 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds column 
includes all listings for the "Buy • Rent • 
Sell," "Freelancers" & "Postproduction" 
categories. It is restricted to memPers 
only. Each entry has a 250 character 
limit & costs $15 per issue. Payment must 
Pe made at the time of suPmission. 
Anyone wishing to run a classified ad 
more than once must pay for each 
insertion & indicate the numPer of 
insertions on the suPmitted copy. Each 
classified ad must Pe typed, douPle- 
spaced, & worded exactly as it should 
appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will Pe 
respected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g, March 8 for the May issue. 
Make check or money order— no 
cash, please— payaPle to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 

For Sale: Beaulieu S8 6008S w/ Schneider 6-70 lens, 
incl. Schneider Aspheric lens, 200' cart, blimp, 
nicad rechg. $1500/b.o. Sennheiser K3U/ME80 shot- 
gun mic $150/b.o. S8S 2-gang bench w/Minetta S5 
sound viewer $600/b.o. S8S Uher Dakota 816 S8 
Fullcoat recorder $800/b.o. 215-925-8587. 

For Sale: French Eclair ACL with 1 -400' mag and 3- 
200' mags; Cinema Products crystal/variable speed 
motor; Angenieux 12.5-75 zoom; new G&M 
battery belt. Recently overhauled, excellent condi- 
tion. $5,000 or best offer. Call Peter at (301) 276- 
6134. 

Office Space/Desk Space available for sublet in 
midtown location. 24 hr access/video editing. Short 
term or longer, price negotiable. Call Howard or 
Josh (212) 245-5885. 

For Sale: 16mm 6-plate Showcron flatbed editor. 
Great shape! Call (214) 238-3380 and leave 
message. 

For Sale: 6-plate Moviola editing machine. Comes 
with assorted editing room equipment. Privately 
owned. Price negotiable. (718) 622-0938. 

For Sale: Sony DXC 1610 color video camera. One 
private owner, low usage. Includes new battery, 
lens and carrying case. CMA5 available. $700. 
(201) 944-8422 evenings. 

For Sale: Moviola M77. 16mm 6-plate flatbed 
editor in great condition. $5,000 includes splicer, 
rewinds. Terrific deal. 212-966-4528. 

For Sale: 16mm 6-plate CINEMONTA Editor, 
mint condition, $8,500 or trade for vehicle. 
Meanwhile, you can rent this beauty (it's only got 
1 and 1/2 films on it, honest!) in a clean, fully- 
equipped room overlooking San Francisco Bay. 
AIVF/BAVC/FAF discount. Also selling syn- 
chronizers, splicers, viewers, 1/4" decks, Magnasync 
dubber— all cheap. (415) 444-3074. 



For Sale: Eclair NPR 16mm camera, 24/30fps 
crystal motor, 12-120 Ang. lens, 2-400' mags, 
block battery, lens shade, custom case, accessories. 
All excellent condition. $2,500. 35mm Devry XD 
projector. Good condition. $350 plus ship. Split 
reels, new. 16mm, 1200' @ $10; 35mm, 1000' @ 
$20; 35mm, 2000' @ $25. One pair Hollywood 
Film Company 35mm rewinds, single shafts, $40. 
Call (303) 343-3581. 



Freelancers 

Production: Experienced Network Videographers 
with complete broadcast gear available for long or 
short term projects. We shoot News, Documen- 
taries, Sports and Music Videos. Reasonable rates. 
Call Tony Brown (212) 949-0947. 

Soundman: Extensive experience in features/docu- 
mentaries. Great gear, will travel. Call for refs/ 
credits. Doug, (212) 489-0232 (NYC). 

Award-Winning Cinematographer going to Italy 
in the summer of 1987. Save on travel and related 
expenses. Own 16mm equipment and crew; many 
options available. Renato Tonelli (718) 236-0153. 

Sound Recordist: Available for all types of pro- 
jects: documentaries, narratives, shorts. Have com- 
plete sound package including Nagra 4.2. Schoeps 
super-cardioid, lavaliers, bloop lights, etc. Rates 
negotiable. Cathy Calderon, (212) 580-2075. 

PA. with Van: Film school grad with experience 
on commercials, docs, industrials has VW van with 
running water, sink, ice box. Good personnel and/or 
equipment carrier. Dependable. References. Reason- 
able rates. N.Y. area. (718) 937-1290. 

Award Winning Cameraman: Available for film or 
video projects. Experienced in documentaries, inde- 
pendent features, commercials, and industrials. 
Also available with Ikegami and full production 
package. For great rates, and a job well done, call 
Doron at (212) 620-9157. 

Videographer w/ 3/4" production package, includ- 
ing new Sony DXC-3000 CCD camera. Cheap rates, 
willing to travel. David Fish (201) 568-31 12. 

Experienced Gaffer available for interesting 
projects. Lighting packages, generator, location van 
and crew. Call for appointment. J. Anthony Produc- 
tions (516) 294-1038. 

Publicist with several years experience as inde- 
pendent and working for major public relations 
firms will handle your total media campaign. Pre- 
production through New York and Los Angeles 
openings, including unit publicity. Press kits, press 
releases, and media campaigns for directors and ac- 
tors also offered. Feature film credits include NYC 
openings of Gringo, Before Stonewall, A Generation 
Apart, Musical Passage, and Gospel. Television and 
celebrity pr also available. Professional, highly 
personalized service at reasonable rates. Marketing 
and advertising consultation provided. Jeffrey Wise 
Publicity, 507 E. 12th St., #2B, NYC 10009, (212) 
460-8373. 



You Need Me on your Next Project: Experienced 
Assistant Director, Well-Organized Script Super- 
visor, Energetic Production Assistant, Detailed Con- 
tinuity, Resourceful & Creative Props and Set 
Design... Interested in film/tape projects, pre-pro- 
duction, production and post-production. Willing 
to travel or work in NYC area. Have valid drivers 
license & passport, and a sense of humor. Will con- 
sider all offers. Please call Otie Brown (212) 645- 
0619. 

Videographer/Dancer: Consultation and produc- 
tion services for dancers and related fields in the 
arts. Low-budget broadcast production pkg. incl. 
DXC M3 camera; 1/2" documentation of rehearsals; 
3/4" editing, $20/hr; dubbing $12/hr. Penny Ward/ 
Video (212) 228-1427; 529-7988. 

Student Wants PA Work: Summer '87. Will 
travel. Prefer live action. Exp: 6 16mm films 
(NYU) sum '86 and worked for film animator 
Faith Hubley as PA. Please contact Shana Dressier, 
Bx 1608, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 
(914) 473-6006. 

Full Service Media Consultant: Complete fund- 
raising, marketing and production-related consul- 
ting services for film and video producers, 
directors, writers. Editing scripts/treatments; pitch- 
ing; proposals for gov't agencies, foundations, cor- 
porations, individuals, international markets; film 
prospectuses and company business plans. Power 
resumes and career strategies. Barbara Sirota Pro- 
ductions. (212) 213-1326. 

Director of Photography with critically 
acclaimed films in the United States and Europe. 
Reels are available for documentary as well as nar- 
rative work. Full Aaton camera package with super 
16 gate. My rate will fit your budget. Let's talk. 
(212)475-1947. 



Postproduction 



Broadcast Quality Video Editing with special 
effects. S35/hour hands-on rate. Sony BVU-800 
series editing decks. Convergence 90 controller, 
fades, slo-mo. freeze-frames, Chyron graphics. 
With editor, $55/hour plus graphics. Convergence 
training, 3/4" & VHS transfer- duplications, 
$ 1 5/half-hour, in-house voiceover, location produc- 
tion packages. Lincoln Center area. HDTV Enter- 
prises, (212) 874-4524. 

16MM Flatbeds For Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for 
rent in your work space or fully equipped down- 
town editing room with 24-hour access. Cheapest 
rates in NYC for independent filmmakers. Call 
Philmaster Productions, (212) 873-4470. 

Negative Matching: 16mm, super 16, 35mm cut 
for regular printing, blowup, or video transfer. 
Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders & 
Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at reasonable rates. 
ONE WHITE GLOVE, Tim Brennan. (718) 897- 
4145, NYC. 

Moviola M-77 Flatbeds For Rent: 6-plate flat- 
beds for rent in your workspace or downtown 
editing room with 24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



NYC for independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster 
Productions (212) 873-4470. 

Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway: Super 
8 and 8mm film-to-video mastering with scene-by- 
scene color correction to 3/4", 1" and high speed 
components. By appointment only. Call (617) 666- 
3372. 

Sound Transfers: 16/35mm, 24/25/30 fps, center, 
edge, and multi track, TIME CODE capable, 
state of the art equipment (includes Time Code 
Stereo and Mono Nagras). Evening and weekend ser- 



vice available, convenient downtown location. Dis- 
count to AIVF and NABET members and for grant 
funded projects. Downtown Transfer/Billy Sarokin; 
(212)255-8 



8 Plate Steenbeck: full 16mm editing facilities, 24 
hour access. Daily, weekly or long-term rentals. 
Call Carolyn (212) 925-1500. 

Steenbeck For Rent: Low monthly rates. Delivered 
to workspace. Octavio (718) 855-8366. Also Arri-S 
for Sale w Cannon macro-zoom 12-120 with tri- 
pod. Make offer. Pat Maxam (607) 277-4182. 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others 
are included as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover date, 
e.g., March 8 for the May issue. Send 
notices to Independent Notices, FIVF, 
625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

Production/Marketing Company w/ in-house legal 
staff seeks completed video programs w/ appeal to 
home-viewers &/or schools & libraries (e.g., how- 
to/instructional; educ; entertainment). We will 
find, negotiate & supervise distribution deals on 
your behalf for a %. Contact Bennu Productions, 
Inc., 165 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; 
(212)213-8511. 

Mediamix is accepting original video, film & 
computer work for cable TV series to be aired beg. 
in late winter/spring '87. Fictional, nonnarrative, 
experimental & abstract work accepted. Submis- 
sions must be on 3/4" video (VHS/Beta condi- 
tionally accepted), not to exceed 23 min. r.t. Send 
tapes to Dak/MEDIAMIX Cableshow, c/o Falcon 
Video Studios, 271 Cleveland Ave., Highland Park, 
NJ 08904; (201) 247-4720. 

From Here to Hollywood: 30 min. live TV on 
Manhattan Cable Ch. J will showcase short works. 
15 min. max r.t. Works critiqued & filmmaker 
invited for on-air interview. Begs, in Oct. Write 
Paul Anthony, From Here to Hollywood, 274 
Schoolhouse Rd., Jamesburg, NJ 08831; (201)521- 
4431. 

At New World Video Exhibition: Video Inn seeks 
videotapes & info on Asian video artists & ind. 
prods, living in the New World. Will be a part of 
the Asian-Pacific Festival in Vancouver during June 
'Kl.Video Guide will also publish the Asian New 
World issue incl. articles, reviews, info & biblio/ 
videographics. Writers, contributors welcome. No 
entry fee. Artists/writers fees will be paid. 
Deadline: Apr. 1. Contact Video Inn, 261 Powell 
St., Vancouver, BC V6A 1G3, Canada; (604) 688- 
4336. 



Working Frequencies: Radio prod, team seeks 
audio/radio programs about work-related issues for 
upcoming guide & listening workshops. For more 
info write Working Frequencies, 291 Smith St., 
Brooklyn, NY 11231. 

New Day Films: Self-distrib. coop for independent 
prods, seeks new members w/ recent social issue 
docs. Priority areas: culture, environment, family, 
gay/lesbian, health, handicapped, labor, minority. 
Also progressive films for young people. App. 
deadline: May 1. For info, write Ralph Arlyck, 79 
Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. 



Conferences • Workshops 

Hallwalls Video Editing: Workshops offered on a 
regular basis to introduce new users to Hallwalls' 
video edit, facility. Incl. 3/4" editing w/ add. Beta 
& VHS playback. Avail, by proposal to upstate 
independent artists' projects. Contact Hallwalls at 
least 1 wk before scheduled workshops, held twice 
monthly. Limited enrollment, early registration 
encouraged. Contact Hallwalls, 700 Main St., Buf- 
falo, NY 14202; (716) 854-5828. 

Production Unit Workshop: Sponsored by Newark 
Mediaworks Mar. 24-Apr. 1 1 . Designed to teach 
students w/ some video experience short docs & fic- 
tional videos. Provides hands-on training from pre- 
prod. to shooting & editing. Meets Tues., 6:30-9 
pm & Sats. 12-4 pm. Fee: $140. Contact Newark 
Mediaworks, Box 1716, 60 Union St., Newark, NJ 
07101; (201) 690-5474. 

Film/Video Arts. Advanced training for media 
professionals, incl. prod, mgmt., directing, screen- 
writing, A/B roll techniques in video edit. & em- 
ployment strategies. Scholarship assistance may be 
avail, for minorities. Contact F/VA, 817 Broad- 
way, New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 

Int'l Film & TV Workshops: Feb., Mar. & Apr. in 
Ojai, CA. Incls. workshops on camera, steadicam, 
video prod., script & continuity, lighting cine- 
matography, set design, casting, acting for film & 
tape, scriptwriting, prod, mgmt., film direction, 
electronic cinematography, wilderness docs, acting 
techniques for directors, video editing, feature film 
editing & TV commercials. Contact Int'l Film & 
TV Workshops, Rockport. ME 04856; (207) 236- 
8581. 




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THE INDEPENDENT 31 



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Insurance Specialists 

Contact Dennis Reilt -„-.. 

221 West 57 Street N Y.NY 10019 (212)603-0231 



HDTV '87 Colloquium: 3rd int'l conf. on new TV 
systems will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 
Oct. 5-8. Forum for leaders in the TV community 
to discuss development & implications of higher 
quality TV. Call for papers deadline: March 1987. 
Write Metin Akgun, prog. chair-HDTV '87, Dept. 
of Communications, 300 Slater St., Ottawa, Ont., 
Canada, K1A 0C8; (613) 990-4669, Telex: 053- 
3342. Registration: Secretariat-HDTV '87, c/o Con- 
ference Coll Inc., 1138 Sherman Dr., Ottawa, Ont. 
Canada K2C 2M4; (613) 224-1741. 

An Spring Workshops: Los Angeles: Art of Cine- 
matography, Mar. 21-22; Financing Options for 
Motion Pic Prod., Mar. 28; Santa Barbara, CA: Di- 
rector's Seminar at Santa Barbara Film Fest, Mar. 4- 
8; NYC: Video Distr. Options for Videomakers, 
Mar. 14; Boston: Intro to Film & TV Prod. Re- 
search, Mar.7; Chicago: Nuts & Bolts of Preprod.. 
Mar. 14; Art of Film Direction, Mar. 21-22; 
Seattle: Screenwriting, Mar. 7; Acting for the 
Camera, Mar. 20-22; Washington, DC: Screenwri- 
ting, Mar. 21-22; Miami: Financing & Marketing 
Ind. Film & Video, Mar. 14. Contact Public Ser- 
vice Programs, AH, Box 27999, 2021 N. Western 
Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027; (800) 221-6248 or 
(213)856-7690. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

Position open: Video instructor & director video 
lab, California Institute of the Arts. FT. beg. July 
1 or Aug. 15. 1-yr contract w/ possible renewal. 
Salary negotiable. Must teach introductory video 
class as well as advanced media critique, able to 
work w/ grad & undergrad students. Substantial 
exhibition/prod, record required. Knowledge of 
film & film history/ theory preferred. Women & 
minorities strongly urged to apply. Write 
Catherine Lord, dean, School of Art, CalArts, 
24700 McBean Pkwy., Valencia, CA 91355. 

Video Artist Position: UC San Diego Visual Arts 
Dept. Will teach artistic & critical & tech. skills 
to beginners & advanced students & lecture on his- 
torical development of the medium. Tenure-trk 
asst. prof, or possibly early assoc. prof, level posi- 
tion avail, beg. 1987-88 academic yr. Rank & salary 
commensurate w/ qualifications & experience. Dead- 
line for app: Mar. 31. Write Allan Kaprow, chair- 
person. Visual Arts (B-027), UC San Diego, La 
Jolla, CA 92093. 

San Francisco State Univ : Cinema Dept. has 2 ten- 
ure trk openings. Asst. prof, in film prod., beg. 
Aug. 31. Salary range: $26-31,000. Assoc, or full 
prof, w/ admin, assignment as chair, beg. Aug. 31. 
Salary range: $39,168-49,548 (w/ increase expected 
in 1987-88). App. deadline for both positions: Mar. 
2. Send app. to Margo Kasdan, chair. Dept. of Cine- 
ma, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA 
94132. 

Faculty Position in Video: School of the Art 
Institute of Chicago Video Dept. seeks asst. prof., 
tenure trk, available for fall semester 1987. FT 
teaching position w/ specialization required in new 
video technology & systems. Work w/ grad & 
undergrad students. MFA, FT teaching experience 
& exhibition record required. App. deadline: Mar. 
1. Contact Martin Prekop. chair. Undergraduate 
Div., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 280 S. 
Columbus Ave., Chicago, IL 60603. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



Museum Educ. Director position available at Amer- 
ican Museum of the Moving Image. Will plan & 
present programs, write & administer grants, train 
& supervise docents & develop educ. materials for 
varied constituency. Also serve as liaison w/ NYC 
Board of Ed, develop network of public & private 
school teachers to serve as curriculum consultants, 
speak at public mtgs, collaborate on projects w/ 
museum curatorial & programming staff & recruit 
instructors. Salary commensurate w/ experience. 
Write Rochelle Slovin, Director, Amer. Museum 
of the Moving Image, 34-12 36th St., Astoria, NY 
11106. 

Experienced Producer Wanted to raise funds for 
feature doc about famous artists. Call (212) 627- 
2464, NYC. 

Independent Producer/Director looking for fea- 
ture-length script. Comedy or love story, rural 
backdrop preferred w/ gay leads. Not interested in 
erotic scripts or coming out stories. P.o.v.s desired. 
Simple plot w/ extensive character development. 
Send treatment or script to Centaur Prod., Box 
504, 308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 
90024. 

Million Dollar Movies, div. of Brisun Entertain- 
ment, interested in low budget projects for prod, in 
1987. Seeking writers &/or completed scripts in ac- 
tion/ horror, action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy & teen 
comedy areas. $1- to $2-million budget range. Also 
looking for production teams. Writers: do not send 
scripts; inquire for release form, lst-time directors 
considered if they come w/ strong script with 
developable concept. Production mgrs./line produ- 
cers must have low-budget feature experience, lst- 



time feature DPs w/ strong commercial or music 
video reels considered. No calls or drop-ins. Send 
resumes, tapes (3/4" preferred) w/ SASE to Million 
Dollar Movies, Studio Ten, #10, 32 W. 31st St., 
New York, NY 10001. 

Position Available: Assistant professor telecommu- 
nications/video production, full-time, fall 1987. 
Teach introductory and advanced production. Em- 
phasis on portable video and local cable TV produc- 
tion. Cable TV access facility located on campus. 
Production exp. required. Ph.D. or ABD preferred. 
Salary: $22,000-24,000. Deadline: March 15. Send 
resume to John Giancola, director of Telecommu- 
nications, Humanities Division, Univ. of Tampa, 
Tampa, FL 33606. 



Publications • Software 

Get The Money & Shoot: Guide to funding doc 
films, by Bruce Jackson & Diane Christian. Price: 
$20 plus $2 postage & handling. NYS residents add 
sales tax. From Documentary Research Inc., 96 
Rumsey Rd., Buffalo, NY 14209. 

16SR Book: A Guide to the System, handbook on 
Arriflex 16SR for camera assts. & owners, w/ 
complete asst.'s manual for prep, use & main- 
tenance techniques. Written by Jon Fauer, DP & 
Am owner & published by Arriflex. Price: $14.95 
plus $1.95 shipping & handling. Send check, money 
order or call w/ credit card: Arriflex Corp., 500 
Rte. 303, Blauvelt, NY 10913; (914) 353-1400, 
TWX 7105752624, or FAX (914) 425-1250; in Los 



Angeles, 600 N. Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA 
91502; (818) 841-7070, TLX 9104984641, or FAX 
(818)848-4028. 

THE NEXT WAVE: Special cover story of San 
Francisco Focus: The City Magazine of the Bay 
Area. Surveys film, video & theatre artists working 
in SF, incl. technical advances, int'l character, crea- 
tive vision. Avail, from San Francisco Focus, 680 
Eighth St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 553- 
2835. 

Independent Jewish Films: 1st guide to films fea- 
tured in the Jewish Film Festival incl. 100 titles. 
$9, plus $1 shipping & handling; CA residents add 
6% sales tax. Make check payable to Jewish Film 
Festival, 2600 10th St., Berkeley, CA 94710. 

Deep Dish Directory: Report on the 1st nat'l public 
access satellite network, spring-summer 1986, 
which transmitted a 10-part series of grassroots vid- 
eo to public access stations nationwide. Incl. mail- 
ing lists of all participating public access stations, 
video producers & activists interested in ongoing 
programming exchanges & future satellite use. 96 
pgs. Price now reduced dramatically to $5/ea. Con- 
tact Paper Tiger TV, 339 Lafayette St., New York, 
NY 10012. 

Arts America Fine Art Film & Video Source 
Book, 1987. comprehensive catalog of fine art film 
& video docs. Price: $12.95 plus $2 postage & hand- 
ling. In CT incl. 7-1/2% sales tax. ArtsAmerica, 
125 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, CT 06830. 

Whole Nonprofit Catalog is free from the Grants- 



20TH ANNIVERSARY 




The American Film institute 



1 967 



1 987 



National Educational Programs Presents 

VIDEO DISTRIBUTION OPTIONS 
FOR VIDEOMAKERS 

Co-sponsored with The Kitchen 

Saturday, March 14, 1987, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

$70 AFI and Kitchen members; $90 non-members 

The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, New York 



The concerns of artists, independent producers, ad- 
ministrators, programmers, distributors, and 
representatives of state and private funding institu- 
tions will be addressed in this one day seminar 
organized by independent producer and media con- 
sultant MARIE CIERI. Focusing on current trends 
and issues in independent video distribution, the 
seminar will feature presentations made by the 
most active distributors of independent video, by 
their clients in both established and emerging 
markets (art and educational institutions, travelling 
exhibition services, broadcast and cable television, 
home video and videodiscs, and public and private 
collections); and by the artists and other indepen- 
dent producers who have not only been affected by, 



but have helped shape, current distribution pat- 
terns. 

Guest speakers confirmed at press time include: 
LOIS BIANCHI, Director of Programming, WNET-TV 

NANCY HOLT, independent producer and media 

consultant 

MARY LUCIER, video artist 

ROBIN O'HARA, head of video distribution for The 

Kitchen 

STEVE SAVAGE, President, New Video 

LORI ZIPPAY, Director of Electronic Art Intermix 

To register (VISA or Mastercard), please call The 
American Film Institute at (800) 221-6248 or (213) 
856-7690, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm, Pacific Time. 



The American Film Institute is a non-profit institution created by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1967 to increase the recognition and understanding of 

the film and television arts. 



MARCH 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



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manship Center. Compedium of sources & resources 
for managers & staff of nonprofit organizations. 
Contact the Grantsmanship Center, Whole Non- 
profit Catalog, 650 S. Spring St., Ste. 507, Box 
6210, Los Angeles, CA 90014. 

Art Law: Source book on the rights & liabilities of 
art creators & collectors, by Franklin Feldman & 
Stephen E. Weil. Two hardcover volumes, $160. 
Little, Brown & Co. Law Division, 34 Beacon St., 
Boston, MA 02018. 

Urban Institute Report: The New York Nonprofit 
Sector in a Time of Retrenchment now avail, from 
the Foundation Center. Draws from a major survey 
conducted during the early 1980s. Price: $10 plus 
$2 postage & handling. Make checks payable to the 
Foundation Center, 79 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 
10003; (800)424-9836 

The Art of Filing: Tax Workbook for Visual. Per- 
forming, Literary Artists & Other Self-employed 
Professionals now avail. Price: $9.95. Contact Re- 
sources & Counseling, 416 Landmark Ctr., 75 W. 
5th St., St. Paul, MN 55102; (612) 292-4381. 

South Carolina Film Catalog: South Carolina Arts 
Commission Media Arts Center's 16mm Film Col- 
lection of Independent Shorts catalog now avail. 
Incl. comprehensive list of programs & booking 
info. Contact SCAC Media Arts Ctr., 1800 Gervais 
St., Columbia, SC 29201; (803) 734-8684. 

American Council for the Arts: 1986 Fall/Winter 
Books Catalog incl. subjects in arts & technology, 
marketing & fundraising, individual artists resour- 
ces, arts mgmt., arts & educ, cultural planning & 
arts issues. Contact ACA, Dept. 17, 1285 Ave. of 
the Americas, 3rd fl., Area M, New York, NY 
10019. 



Resources • Funds 



Nat'L Endowment for the Humanities-. Projects in 
Media deadline: Mar. 20. Contact James Dougherty; 
(202) 786-0278. 

Nat l Endowment for the Arts: App. deadline: 
Mar. 13. Arts Management Fellowships to arts ad- 
ministrators at the Endowment offices in Wash. 
DC. Deadline: Apr. 17. Contact NEA Visual Arts 
Program, (202) 682-5448. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting Open Soli - 
citations deadline: May 1, 1987. Contact CPB, 
Program Fund, 1111 16th St., NW, Washington, 
DC 20036. 

Film Bureau: Grants avail, to nonprofit NYS- 
based organizations for exhibition programs. Sup- 
ports wide variety of programs, from annual film 
fests to special screenings at local libraries, 
galleries & community centers. Matching funds of 
up to $300 avail, for film rentals & up to $200 per 
speaking engagement for presentations by filmmak- 
ers, producers, directors, technicians & scholars. Pri- 
ority given to organizations showing works by ind. 
filmmakers &/or films not ordinarily avail, to the 
public. Deadlines: June 15, Aug. 15. Contact F/VA, 
817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 
673-9361. 



Film in the Cities: Regional grants available to 
film/video artists residing in IA, MN, ND, SD & 
WI. Max. request of $16,000 for new works & 
$6,500 for completion. Deadline: Apr. 3. App. 
workshops avail, in each state. Contact Film in the 
Cities; (612) 646-6104. 

Louisiana Division of the Arts: Individual Artists 
Program grants in all disciplines. Deadline: Mar. 2. 
Applicant must be LA residents for at least 2 yrs. 
Contact Louisiana Div. of the Arts, Box 44247, 
Baton Rouge, LA 70804; (504) 925-3930. 

Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Assn. Sub- 
sidy Grants: Avail, to members of PIFVA: funds 
provided by the PA Council on the Arts. Funds 
awarded for specific, targeted services vital to the 
project's completion, performed at below com- 
mercial rates. Average grants $250-500. Deadlines: 
Apr. 1 & June 1. For apps., contact PIFVA, Int'l 
House, 3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. PA 19104; 
(215)387-5125. 

RISCA Application Deadlines: Mini-Grant 
proposals & Project Support proposals, Mar. 2. In- 
dividual Artists Fellowships, Mar. 16. Contact 
Rhode Island Council on the Arts, Mini-Grant 
Program, (401) 277-3880. 

New York State Council on the Arts: Proposal 
deadline for all programs, incl. Film, Tele- 
vision/Media & Special Arts Services, March 1. 
Contact NYSCA, 915 Broadway, New York, NY 
10010. 

Women's Studio Workshop: Postprod. residency 
for women filmmakers. Facilities incl. 6-plate 
flatbed moviola, synchronizer & squawk box & 
moviescope. Up to $250 for materials. Contact Wo- 
men's Studio Workshop, Box V, Rosendale, NY 
12472; (914) 658-9133. 

Fullbright Scholar Program: Grants in com- 
munications & journalism still available. Scholars 
in all academic ranks eligible to apply. Should have 
Ph.D.. college or univ. teaching experience & evi- 
dence of scholarly activity. U.S. citizenship re- 
quired. Contact CIES, 11 Dupont Circle, NW, Ste. 
300. Washington, DC 20036: (202) 939-5401. 



Trims & Glitches 

Kudos to Nina Menkes, whose first feature film 
Magdalena Viraga was named Best Independent/ 
Experimental Film of 1986 by the Los Angeles Critics 
Association. 

Congratulations to winners of the 1986 Student 
Film Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture 
Arts & Sciences: Cathey Edwards, documentary 
achievement awards; Peg McClure Moudy. anima- 
tion achievement award; Lauren Lazin, documentary 
merit award & Sheila M. Sofian, animation merit 
award. 

Congratulations to Theresa Tollini for her film 
Breaking Silence, winner of the Bronze Hugo from 
the Chicago Int'l Film Festival & Special Jury 
Award from Hemisfilm Int'l Festival. Breaking Si- 
lence will be broadcast on PBS Mar. 1, 10 pm, EST. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1987 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

■ The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

■ Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

• Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 
Professional seminars and screenings 

Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 



There's strength in numbers. 



J 



oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

□ (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



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Telephc 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



Check your local listing for air date and time in 
your area. 

Kudos to David Sutherland, whose documentary 
Jack Levine: Feast of Pure Reason has won the Gold 
Plaque Award at the Chicago Int'l Film Festival, a 
CINE Golden Eagle & a Chris Bronze Plaque 
Award at the Film Council of Greater Columbus. 

Congratulations: Among the 16m dramatic film 
finalists selected for the 1987 United States Film 
Festival are AIVF members Rachid Kerdouche, Her 
Name is Lisa; Steven Okazaki, Living on Tokyo 
Time; Philip Hartman, No Picnic; Tim Hunter, 
River's Edge; Jill Godmilow, Waiting for the 
Moon & Lizzie Borden, Working Girls. 

Kudos to "Open Channels" award winners exhibi- 
ted at Long Beach Museum of Art: Ed Jones, Jeane 
Finley, John Arvanites, Tony Labat & David Stout. 

Congratulations to winners of the 1986 
Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Program awards 
from the Artists Foundation: Laurel Chiten, David 
Bruce Roderick, Alia Arasoughly, Dasal Banks, 
Ellen I. Segring, Julia Willis, Alexandra Anthony, 
Daniel Bamett, John Junkerman, Ross McElwee, 
Enrique Oliver & Elizabeth Hope Shaw. 

Congratulations to the New York State Council 
on the Arts grantees in Media Production: Fred 
Bacher, Burt Barr, Judith Barry, David Behrman, 
David Blair, James Byrne, Amy Chen, Ying Chan & 
Richard Gong, Tony Cokes, Lee Eiferman, Matthew 
Geller, Tami Gold, Annie Goldson & Chris Bratton, 
Claudia Gould, Julie Gustafson, DeeDee HaJleck, 
Julia Keydel, Thomas Lopez, Mary Lucier, Mary Mc- 
Ferran & Diane Torr, Ginger Miles, Phil Niblock, 
Terry O'Reilly, Liz Phillips, Daniel Riesenfeld, Jackie 
Sauter, Richard Schmiechen, Lisa Seidenberg, Jona- 
than Sinaiko, Scott Sinkler & Sachiko Hamada, 
Francesc Torres & Edin Velez. 

Congratulations to the New York State Council 
on the Arts grantees in Film Production: Mark 
Berger, Scott Billingsley, Stephanie Black, Power 
Boothe, Olivia Carrescia, Ping Chong, Pamela 
Cohen, Ghasem Ebrahimian, Allan Francovich, Su 
Friedrich, DeeDee Halleck & Penny Bender, Sally 
Heckel, Lisa Hsia, Lewis Klahr, Theodore Life, 
Jennie Livingston, Babette Mangolte, Sheila Mc- 
Laughlin, Meredith Monk, Frank Moore & Jim 
Self, Frank & Caroline Mouris, Mark Rappaport, 
Debra Robinson, Peggy Stem, Lynne Tillman, Dan 
Walworth, Josh Waletzky & Marco Williams. 

The New York State Council on the Humanities 
has established a public access screening facility for 
media projects in the humanities at their offices, 
198 Broadway, 10th fl., NYC. 

Image Film/Video Center in Atlanta has estab- 
lished a new on-line program with 1 1 companies: 
ASV Video, Atlanta Video, Crawford Communica- 
tions, Editworks, Lighting & Production Equip- 
ment, Threshhold Productions, Video Media Inc., 
the Camera Department, Thompson/Berg Teleproduc- 
tions. Showcase Audio Video & Doug Hall & Asso- 
ciates. 



INTERNAL RESONANCE MUSIC (I.R.M.) 
Score Your Project Creatively with the Composer of: 

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MARCH 1987 




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Independent film 
and vEdeomakers, 
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In your AIVF too 
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of film or video 
logo. Hand silk- 
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design on aqua, 
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Tee shirts are $12 each, 
plus $2 for postage and handling. 
Make checks payable to AIVF and 
Indicate style (A = film, B = video) and size (men's S,M,L,XL). 
Please Indicate first and second color choices. 
Mall to: AIVF Tee Shirts, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, KY 10012. 



MEMORANDA 



CORRECTIONS 

The Downtown Community TV Center rec- 
eived a $50,000 grant from the MacArthur 
Foundation, not $15,000 as reported in the 
"Media Clips" column of the January/ 
February issue. 

In the December 1986 issue, Pacific Arts, a 
home video distribution company mentioned 
in "Reels of Fortune: Video Software Dealers 
Meet," was inaccurately reported as curtailing 
acquisition of feature and documentary material. 
Pacific Arts says they will soon release new 
titles in these categories, such as a cassette edi- 
tion of Agnes Varda's Vagabond and several 
video productions from the Kitchen, in addition 
to publishing their new video magazine, Over- 



CANADIAN & MEXICAN 
MEMBERS, PLEASE NOTE 

Annual AIVF individual membership fees for 
Canada and Mexico are now $45. Student mem- 
berships in those countries are $30. Library and 



organization membership fees are $60 and $85, 
respectively. Postage rates outside the U.S. and 
Puerto Rico make these increases necessary. 
We regret the price hikes and will continue 
working to make up the difference in the 
quality of our efforts. 



WELCOME ABOARD 

The board of directors of the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Filmmakers (FIVF) is 
pleased to announce the appointment of four 
new board members, each of whom brings to 
the board significant experience and expertise 
that will complement the work of its elected 
members. 

Adrianne Benton, director of the Inter- 
national Television Group at Children's Tele- 
vision Workshop and a member of the board 
of directors of the Benton Foundation, will 
apply her managerial skills and foundation 
experience to FIVF's institutional develop- 
ment. Lisa Frigand, community relations 
officer at the Con Edison company of New 
York and an enthusiastic supporter of the arts. 



will help FIVF develop its corporate funding 
base. Richard Lorber, a founder of Fox/ 
Lorber Associates, a syndication and distribu- 
tion company, and a founding member of the 
Association of Independent Video and Film- 
makers, looks forward to helping FIVF devel- 
op its marketing expertise. Steve Savage, 
founder of New Video, a home video mini- 
chain in New York City, will also help FIVF 
develop its marketing and membership 
strategies. 

"The appointment of these outstanding indi- 
viduals to the FIVF board of directors is the 
most significant institutional development of 
1986, and perhaps for the last few years, for 
FIVF," said executive director Lawrence Sapa- 
din at the board's December meeting. "Each 
has a history of interest and involvement in 
FIVFs work, as well as substantial expertise 
outside our field," Sapadin said. "They will be 
a joy to work with." 



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MARCH 1987 




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University of Pennsylvania 

SCREENWRITIMG SEMINAR: 
From Story Selection to the Marketplace 

A two-day, intensive seminar 
on the art, craft and business of screenwriting 



April 4 & 5 
Philadelphia 

9:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. each day 



Fee: $150 

includes seminar tuition, 

screenplay and all materials 



Taught by Hollywood Staff Producer and 
Story Editor Michael Hauge 



University of Pennsylvania 

Special Programs 

College of General Studies 

3808 Walnut Street 
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6136 



April 11 & 12 
New York 

9:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. each day 



Call (215) 898-6479/6493 

for complete brochure 

or to register 



Video Duplication 

3/4" U-matic & 1/2" VHS or Beta II Copies 



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2-4 Copies 3.50 3.00 


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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPEMXNr 



APRIL 1987 

VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3 



Publisher 

Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 

Art Director: 
Production Staff: 

Advertising: 



National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Renee Tajima 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Patricia Thomson 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Ernest Larsen 
Christopher Holme 
Ruth Copeland 
Morgan Gwenwald 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
1 13 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), 
a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of 
video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership 
in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independents and 
the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part 
with public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency .- 

The Independent welcomes 
unsolicited manuscripts. Manuscripts 
cannot be returned unless a stamped, self- 
addressed envelope is included. No 
responsibility is assumed for loss or 
damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film, 
Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. 

Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 
1987 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive airector; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business man- 
ager; Raina Fortini, administrative assistant; Sol 
Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Joyce Bo- 
linger (chair), Robert Richter (president), Howard 
Petrick (vice president), Robin Reidy (secretary), 
Aarianne Benton,' Christine Choy (treasurer), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand," Richard Lorber," Tom Luddy, 
Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), 
Steve Savage." Brenda Webb. Barton Weiss, 
John Taylor Williams 

• FIVF Board of Directors only 
APRIL 1987 



CONTENTS 



FEATURES 

1 2 Answering the Void 

by Michelle Parkerson 

1 4 Thoughts on Women's Cinema: 
Eating Words, Voicing Struggles 

by Yvonne Rainer 

1 6 Letter on South Africa 

by Mfundi Vundla 

1 7 Avant-Garde Film 

by T. Zummer 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Threats to Affirmative Action in Broadcasting 

by Quynh Thai 

The Secret Society in Action: BBC Raid 

by Renee Tajima 

Now You See It, Now You Don't 

by Lucinda Furlong 

TV from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego 

Master What Possibilities? 

by Ethan Young 

Jane Morrison: 1947-1987 

AIRobbins: 1938-1987 

by Anne Bratach 

Sequels 

20 FESTIVALS 

Third Cinema at Edinburgh: Reflections on a 
Pioneering Event 

by Kobena Mercer 

In Brief 

by Kathryn Bowser 

28 FIELD REPORT 

Miami Wavelengths 

by Jay Murphy 

30 CLASSIFIEDS 

31 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 




Wave- Bye- 3ye 



COVER: For some movie-lovers, cinema is an invention foreshadowed by age- 
old attempts to materialize illusions. And the most serious proponents of film 
have often been the avant-gardists. In this issue, Thomas Zummer takes liberties 
with some of the revered classics of our avant-garde film legacy— from the 
work of founding fathers like Buhuel and Eisensten to that of their prolific progeny 
to recent feminist titles. Zummer lives and works in New York City. When not study- 
ing philosophy, he watches movies, makes cartoons, and tells himself jokes. 

THE INDEPENDENT 1 



!■ 




Video Software // Interest Group 



AN OPEN LETTER 

TO VIDEO 

AND FILM PRODUCERS 

FROM VIDEO-SIG 



Many of you are sitting on the rights to video or film features and short 
subjects that you can't or don't have the resources to take to the 
marketplace. 

You are independent producers, directors, entertainers, sports personali- 
ties or home enthusiasts! 

You have produced a quality production which deserves and needs to be 
available to the public at large! 

You should be rewarded for your time and talent! 

You should know about VIDEO-SIG! 

VIDEO-SIG ( Software Interest Group ) is a video publisher committed to 
distributing quality video programs to the purchasing public at low cost. 
This is accomplished through mail order sales, extensive advertising and 
direct marketing. 

VIDEO-SIG is a division of PC-SIG, publishers of the world's largest 
collection of computer software for the IBM PC and compatibles. Our 
success and reputation are based on product integrity, attentive customer 
service and large distribution base. We believe that these same principles 
can be applied in the video market, thus creating a large library of stimulat- 
ing, creative and interesting video productions reaching a broad spectrum 
of consumers. 

The formula is simple. We review and accept quality productions into our 
library. The producer is paid a royalty of 10% on each cassette sold which 
are priced from $795 to $ 1995. Each production is listed in the VIDEO-SIG 
library catalog. We take responsibility for mastering and duplicating your 
production, as well as listing and describing your tape in our catalog and 
other promotional materials. In turn, VIDEO-SIG has a NONEXCLUSIVE 
right to market your programs allowing you to retain the right to see your 
production anywhere else. 

The quickest way to fame, as many of you have experienced, is through 
exposure. If you have the rights to a video or film production that you wish 
to have considered in our catalog for retail and mail order sales — send a 
review copy of your production to: 

VIDEO-SIG 

1030C Duane Avenue 

Sunnyvale, CA 94086 

or phone 

(408) 730-9291 

ask for JULIE 

Submission of material does not commit you in anyway. Upon receipt of 
your VHS tape, we will review your production and let you know promptiy if 
it has been accepted for inclusion in the library. Please send a duplicate as 
VIDEO-SIG cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to master tapes. 



LETTER 



To the editor: 

Although Marc Weiss has brokered the work 
of independent producers for many years, he'll 
have to take more principled positions than 
those he took in "Package Deal: A New Docu- 
mentary Series" ["Media Clips," December 
1986] if he wants to continue to do so. When 
speaking of the possible series content he 
stated, "I don't know if we'd put [When the ] 
Mountains [Tremble] on in [the series'] first 
year. I want to build up trust with the [PBS] 
stations. Initially I don't want to program 
something that will make them run for the 
hills." This kind of thinking has often been 
PBS's rationale for exclusion of excellent docu- 
mentaries. What about films like The Making 
of Sun City or Dark Circle, both excluded 
from PBS airwaves? Will Weiss wait for an ap- 
propriately acceptable climate to present doc- 
umentaries like these? Will that time ever 
come if we continue to practice such self- 
censorship? 

The strengh of the independent documentary 
film movement has been in its unblinking por- 
trayal of events in a responsible way and with- 
out regard to PBS's approval. This is inherent 
in the concept of "independent." While we 
strongly support the idea of a new documen- 
tary series on public televison, it must be pur- 
sued to include the independent community's 
strongest and most creative documentaries 
without regard to form or content. 

— Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy, Tom Siegel 
producers of When the Mountains Tremble 

New York, NY 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

AIVF offers its members excellent group 
medical and life insurance plans, admin- 
istered by The Entertainment Industry 
Group Insurance Trust (TEIGIT). Our 
comprehensive medical plan offers: 

• $200 deductible 

• 80% co-insurance 

• yearly out-of-pocket cost set at $ 1 ,000 
maximum & $1,000,000 maximum life- 
time benefit 

Other plans are available, including disa- 
bility income insurance with a $500 
monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or for more information, 
write AIVF Membership Services, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York NY 10012, 
or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400. 



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MEDIA CLIPS 



THREATS TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN 
BROADCASTING 



General Electric takes over NBC; Ted Turner 
tries to buy out CBS; toymakers sell sell sell to 
wide-eyed tots on hour-long TV episodes. TV 
plunges to its record worst. What's left on the 
agenda of communications deregulation? In a 
move that defied history and social respon- 
sibility, the Federal Communications Com- 
mission last September declared its own 
affirmative action policies unconstitutional. In 
a legal brief filed with the U.S. Court of 
Appeals in Washington, D.C., the agency repu- 
diated its long-standing policies of preference 
towards minorities and women in granting 
broadcasting licenses. The courts were asked 
to examine whether such preferential prac- 
tices are constitutional and within the agen- 
cy's statutory authority. Approved by the 
commissioners, the brief concluded that prefer- 
ential policies "are discriminatory classifica- 
tions by the government that are inherently 
suspect, presumptively invalid and subject to 
scrutiny under the equal protection guarantee 
implicit in the due process clause of the Fifth 
Amendment." 

The FCC's brief was submitted in connection 
with a case in which the agency is being ques- 
tioned for granting an FM broadcasting 
license to Dale Bell, a resident of St. Simons 
Island, Georgia. The FCC had chosen Bell 
over her male contender, James Steele, who 
was better qualified and had agreed to move 
to the island if granted the license. Steele 
challenged the FCC's ruling, arguing that Bell, 
as a woman, was actually fronting for her 
father and husband who were the intended 
investors and owners of the station in ques- 
tion. In August 1985. the D.C. Circuit Court 
overruled the FCC decision on the Steele case, 
affirming that the agency had overstepped its 
legal authority in granting preference to Dale 
Bell. In September 1986, however, a full ap- 
peals court vacated this decision and asked the 
FCC to reexamine the legality of such prefer- 
ential practices. 

In the September brief, the FCC maintained 
that its preferential policies should be scrap- 
ped because it had no record of past racial or 
sexual discrimination. Moreover, it questioned 
whether awarding preferences to minority 
groups and women directly achieved the 
FCC's goal of diversifying programming. The 
agency claims no record of such correlation. 

Critics argue that because the agency did not 
mandate racial and sexual discrimination in 
the past does not mean it does not need prefer- 



ential policies now; discrimination is deeply 
imbedded in the social structure. Since only 
1.8 percent of the 12,000 television and radio 
stations are owned by minorities, isn't there a 
need for preference in license granting? Even 
if these policies do not directly diversify pro- 
gramming, the agency that upholds affirm- 
ative action has opened doors which were pre- 
viously closed to minority groups. 

The FCC's plan to reverse its preferential 
practices came as no surprise to those familiar 
with the Reagan-appointed commission. Mark 
Fowler, chair of the commission, has been fa- 
mously loyal to such Reaganite principles as 
free-market competition and easing of gov- 
ernment controls. With Fowler at the FCC. 
the communications industry's deregulation 
has contributed to the recent rise in corporate 
takeover rates, increased telephone charges, 
and the decline of program quality. Said 
Fowler: "[We] rely on competition, not gov- 
. ernment, to regulate the telecommunications 
industry." Critics complain that the "public 
interest" cited in the Communications Act of 
1934 — the enabling legislation for the FCC — 
has become limited to entrepreneurs' interest. 
Broadcasters have been replaced by investors 
who trade licenses as commodities. Free mar- 
ket competition in broadcasting is dubious 
when limited channels require some controls 
to ensure responsible public service. 

Other FCC actions threaten minority parti- 
cipation in the broadcast industry. By 
expanding the limits on the number of sta- 
tions that a single entity can own, the FCC 
strengthened monopolies and reduced entry 
prospects for minorities. And with fewer rules 
governing broadcasting practices, existing own- 
ers have fewer chances of losing their licenses. 
Previously, licensees who were in trouble could 
sell their stations for 75 percent of their origi- 
nal value in order to avoid costly defense pro- 
ceedings. These "distress sales" were a popular 
means by which minorities could buy stations. 

Fowler does not believe racial discrimination 
to be a barrier to minority entrance into 
broadcasting. Instead, he blames the lack of 
minority capital (hard and human). Fowler 
has said that he does not believe in prefer- 
ences "based on skin color" and considers 
them discriminatory. Noting that affirmative 
action may be unconstitutional, he says he 
prefers other means of upgrading minority par- 
ticipation. 

Critics of Fowler and the FCC's recent brief 



range from media advocacy organizations to 
minority interest groups to members of Con- 
gress. While the impact of the FCC's brief 
may not be immediately noticeable, its impli- 
cations are far-reaching for federal as well as 
private industry decision-making processes. 
"The agency's argument against the con- 
stitutionality — not merely the wisdom — of the 
minority ownership program would support 
evisceration of Brown vs. Board of Education 
as well as congressional enactments that put 
an end to discrimination in public accom- 
modations and employment," wrote Tyrone 
Brown, a former FCC commissioner. 

Interest groups have quickly mobilized in 
opposition to the FCC's brief. Twelve organ- 
izations representing black and Hispanic 
groups have applied for permission from the 
Federal Court to enter the case. "We're ready 
to go to war," declared Pluria Marshall, of the 
National Black Media Coalition, a powerful 
activist group whose victories for minority pre- 
ference have been effective within the 
broadcasting industry. Henry Geller, former 
FCC general counsel, has called on broad- 
casters to gather evidence of diversified pro- 
gramming created by increased minority 
ownership. The National Organization for 
Women, along with other women's groups, 
has asked a full court to review the case, ar- 
guing that preferences towards women (added 
to FCC licensing policies in 1978) are needed 
to assure fair representation of women. 

Equally adamant are a number of members 
of Congress. That the FCC went directly to 
the courts instead of rescinding its own prefer- 
ence policies proves its motives in circum- 
venting Congress, the legislative body to which 
it is accountable. Some congressional leaders, 
including Rep. Mickey Leland (D-Texas and 
chair of the Congressional Black Caucus), 
plan to introduce legislation that would man- 
date preference policies. "It's appalling. Most 
minorities and women who own stations own 
them because of the minority preference pol- 
icy. To reverse the policy denies them future 
opportunities," claimed Leland. Reversal 
"forces a return to gloomy days when 
broadcasting ownership was a closed ship." 
"This is the Dred Scott decision of commun- 
ications law," added Rep. Esteban Torres (D- 
California). 

Although Fowler recently announced his 
resignation as FCC chair, his presumed succes- 
sor, Dennis Patrick, has been equally vocal in 



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I NEW I 



ST ATESMAN 

• Labour waters the grassroots • Buchan bites back 

• Kellner on Human Rights * Oil market '87 

• Short story t Science fiction • Pop 




THE KNOCK ON 
THE DOOR 
THE NIGHT 



^OCIETV 



Over the past two weeks, the government has 

• ordered police raids on the New Statesman, BBC Scotland HQ and the homes of three 
NS journalists 

• seized the entire BBC2 Secret Society series tapes 

• issued an injunction against Duncan Campbell 

• banned MPs from viewing the spy satellite film in the House of Commons 

• demanded that newspapers do not publish the spy satellite story 

The Prime Minister has instituted a sustained and radical attack on the right of free enquiry 
and the freedom of the press. (Cont. p3) 



his aversion to preference policies and could 
very well continue the drive against them. 
However, he will have to battle a Democrat- 
dominated Congress and the determined lobby- 
ing of various groups. 

QUYNH THAI 

THE SECRET SOCIETY IN 
ACTION: BBC RAIDED 

Less than two weeks after international jour- 
nalists gathered in London to confer on press 
censorship, Great Britain's own British Broad- 
casting Corporation was the victim of a raid 
on its Glasgow studio. The target of the 28- 
hour raid by Special Branch of Scotland Yard 
was the six-part series The Secret Society, pro- 
duced by investigative reporter Duncan Camp- 
bell. At the heart of the controversy is one 
episode about Britain's $700-million plus 
Zircon project, a super-secret spy satellite that 
has the potential for monitoring communica- 
tions from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, 
and the Middle East. The Thatcher govern- 
ment's involvement with the project violates a 
Ministry of Defence requirement that it in- 
form the House of Commons' Public Accounts 
Committee of any major defense expenditures. 

In mid-January, the BBC management had 
already bowed to governmental pressure to 
suppress the Zircon episode, citing possible 



breaches to national security. Even after pro- 
ducer Campbell subsequently published details 
of the Zircon documents in the New States- 
man, the Thatcher government continued to 
oppose any further circulation of the informa- 
tion and threatened to exercise the sweeping 
Official Secrets Act of 1911, which is used to 
prosecute spies and people suspected of leaking 
confidential government information. When 
Campbell arranged a screening of the banned 
episode for selected members of Parliament, 
the government moved to stop it. 



Jamie Bosian in A, the 
winning student tape 
by Andre Burke that 
caused a stir at the 
National Video 
Festival. 

Courtesy videomaker 



In late January, Scotland Yard agents 
searched the homes of Campbell and his assis- 
tants to investigate possible leaks, and occu- 
pied the New Statesman offices, confiscating 
numerous documents. The police failed twice 
to gain warrants to search the BBC's Glasgow 
facility, but finally struck on the third at- 
tempt. The result was a weekend raid that 
commenced on January 31 and ended with 
the seizure of two vanloads of footage and 
documents from the entire series, not only the 
Zircon episode. The other five programs dealt 
with Britain's failure to legislate a freedom of 
information law, the use of computerized per- 
sonal data, governmental powers during a 
nuclear emergency, police powers, and the 
effectiveness of British radar systems. 

The raid fueled immediate angry responses 
from the BBC. BBC chair Marmaduke 
Hussey, who was considered a Tory party-liner 
when appointed by Thatcher last October, is- 
sued a surprisingly strong protest that decried 
the seizure of material from the other five pro- 
grams, and stated, "We shall, of course, take 
whatever legal action may be appropriate." 
The BBC was already reeling from the sur- 
prise resignation of its director general Alis- 
dair Milne, officially for "personal reasons," 
but said to have been forced out by Hussey. 
Milne had been under attack from Conserva- 
tives in Parliament who criticized BBC for 
"anti-government, anti-American" reporting, 
particularly in its coverage of the U.S. bomb- 
ing of Libya. 

Immediately after the Glasgow raid, the 
House of Commons scheduled an emergency 
debate, which ended up as a rowdy battle be- 
tween the Prime Minister and opposition MPs. 
However, Conservatives control the Com- 
mons, and Labour was not able to garner a 
vote for censure of the raid. In other sectors, 
the National Union of Journalists has urged a 
nationwide strike to protest the government's 
actions. 

RENEE TAJIMA 




6 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



. 



>^ 





s 




3HL 



NOW YOU SEE IT, 
NOW YOU DON'T 

Most accounts of the apparently ho-hum 1986 
National Video Festival, organized by the 
American Film Institute, noted one major 
controversy. Among the 25 tapes premiered at 
the Los Angeles event last December only 
three were produced by women. But another 
stir was caused when the festival staff chose 
for the first time in Festival history not to 
screen the winning student competition tape 
at the opening night awards ceremony. Ac- 
cording to the festival catalogue, the tape, A, 
by Andre Burke, is "an exploration of fear, 
desire, and the other as manifested by the cur- 
rent AIDS crisis." It contains rapidly edited 
segments of colorized images of naked men, 
some engaged in oral sex. Burke said that he 
intentionally abstracted any images that could 
be considered "lurid." 

According to Burke, festival director Steven 
Ricci informed him three months prior to the 
festival that the tape would "probably" be 
screened opening night. A was shown along 
with the regional winners at the student com- 
petition screenings. However, the day before 
the festival opened, Burke was told that, "due 
to time considerations," the eight-minute tape 
would not be shown at the awards ceremony. 
This is the one event that representatives of 
Sony, the Festival's funders, always attend. 

The stakes are high for the American Film 
Institute. After all, a Sony PR person, origi- 
nally approached the AFI about sponsoring a 
student video competition. After a series of 
negotiations and false starts, the first National 
Video Festival took place in 1981. Since then, 
Sony has continued to underwrite the festival 
and to provide substantial support for the 
AFI's Los Angeles campus. According to a for- 
mer festival staffer, in J 983 both officials of 
Sony and the AFI were offended by Cindy 
Kleine's Secrets of Cindy, the winner in the 
"experimental" student category. Questions 
were raised as to whether the tape, which in- 
cluded a shot of a naked penis, truly represent- 
ed the "best" student work. 

Ricci adamantly denied that Burke's tape 
was censored in order to prevent another nega- 
tive response from SONY. "It was simply be- 
cause the evening was too long," he said of the 
two-and-a-half-hour event. He said that they 
considered excerpting the winning tapes, but 
decided that showing only clips was "dam- 
aging" to an experimental tape such as 
Burke's because it gave an "inappropriate pic- 
ture of the work." As proof of the AFI's sup- 
port for A, Ricci cited its inclusion in a selec- 
tion of new American work that the AFI sent 
to the Turin Young Cinema Festival. 

Despite Sony's interest in the student com- 
petition, the festival opened with Jean-Luc 
Godard's 90-minute Grandeur et Decadence 



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dun Petit Commerce de Cinema d'apres un 
Roman instead of tapes by the student 
winners, as they have done in past years. 
Burke's prizes — a camera, deck, two monitors, 
and an edit controller — were displayed on 
opening night, but not the tape that earned 
them. 

LUCINDA FURLONG 



TV FROM THE RIO 
GRANDE TO TERRA DEL 
FUEGO 

Videomaker Karen Ranucci has assembled an 



extraordinary package of independent films 
and videos from Latin America entitled, 
Democracy in Communication. The collection 
of over 30 programs from nine countries is 
comprised mainly of works by Latin Amer- 
ican producers about their own cultures and 
societies. The eight hours of material is dub- 
bed on videocassette formats and offered at 
low cost to anyone who will show it. 

Ranucci compiled the package during a year 
of travel throughout Latin America as a 
freelance videographer-journalist. The experi- 
ence left her coolly unimpressed with the news- 
gathering practices of U.S. reporters, who 
imposed their own often insensitive perspec- 
tives. Says Ranucci, "After some time, I grew 
tired of hearing our own voices." Instead, she 



set about to collect the work of Latin Ameri- 
cans themselves — in Uruguay, Bolivia, El 
Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Chile, 
Peru, and Panama. 

The program she has put together reflects 
the range of popular Latin American media, 
influenced by varying stages of cultural devel- 
opment as well as political realities. A sam- 
pler of Mexican programs contrasts U.S. 
network imports that dominate the country's 
broadcasts with small-format tapes such as 
one about the ancient ritual of communal 
work produced by the Zapoteca Indians and a 
dramatic short about a woman evicted from 
one of Mexico City's cardboard barrios, made 
by Collectivo Cine Mujer, a coalition of wo- 
men producers who work closely with poor 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 



AIVF is pleased to announce a discount 
program of film & video production 
services for its members. The companies 
listed below will offer discounts to AIVF 
members upon presentation of a 
membership card. We hope that this 
program will foster closer cooperation 
between independent producers & 
companies that provide production 
services. 



Techicolor Inc., East Coast Division 
Nick Alberti, Sales Manager 

321 W. 44th St., New York, NY 10036 
(212)582-7310 

Negotiable discounts on services 
including processing, answer prints & 
releas prints for 16mm & 35mm color 
films. 

Tenth Street Production Group 
Alan Schaaf, President 

147 10th St., San Francisco, CA 
(415)621-3395 

10% discount on all lighting & grip 
rentals & on all location scouting/pro- 
duction manager services. Negotiable 
rates on all other production person- 
nel/services & equipment. Free tele- 
phone consultations re: local permits/ 
fees & other shooting requirements/ 
possibilities. 

National Video Industries, Inc. 
Louise Diamond, Operations Manager 

15W.17thSt.,NewYork, NY 
(212)691-1300 

Negotiable discounts on studio produc- 
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ages, postproduction & screening 
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8 THE INDEPENDENT 



TVC Labs 

Roseann Schaeffer, VP Sales 

31 1 W. 43rd St., New York, NY 
(212)397-8600 

Negotiable discounts on services. 

Camera Mart 

Leo Rosenberg, Rental Manager 

456 W. 55th St., New York, NY 
(212)757-6977 

20% discount on all rentals of film & 
video equipment with some specific 
exceptions. Larger discounts may be 
available for rentals of long duration or 
for favorable payment terms. 

Rafik 

814 Broadway, New York, NY 
(212)475-9110 

25% discount on straight rental of 
screening room, rentals on cameras & 
sales of used videocassettes. 15% 
discount on use of editing facilities. All 
other supplies at discount rates; special 
deals available. 

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Mark Fischer 

129 W. 22nd St., New York, NY 
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services, including 3/4" productions, 
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Bob Wiegand 

1 6 Greene St. , New York, NY 
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1 0% discount. 

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Mark Freeman 

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15% discount on 1/2" equipment & 
editing facilities. Preproduction con- 
sultation services, screening facility, 8c 
3/4" to VHS dubbing also available. 

KLW International, Inc. 

Kevin L. Weakland, Consultant 

408 Kathleen Ave. 
Cinnaminson, NJ 0877 
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50% discount on consulting services for 
location scouting, crew scouting, talent 
booking, financing, research. 

Bill Creston 

727 Ave. of the Americas 
New York, NY 10010 
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Tapestry Productions 

Nancy Walzog, Sales & Marketing 

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Negotiable discounts 8c deferral 
arrangments on a variety of services 8c 
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AIVF would like to thank these companies 
for participating. Other firms wishing to be 
included should contact Ethan Young, AIVF 
Membership Services, (212) 473-3400. 



APRIL 1987 



and working-class women. In Chile, where the 
governing junta of General Augusto Pinochet 
has suppressed all forms of mass communi- 
cation, video portapaks have enabled under- 
ground producers to bring officially banned 
information to the people. For example, a 
group of freelance videomakers called Tele- 
analisis produces outlawed news clips about 
mass demonstrations against military repres- 
sion. In Brazil, which has a long history of 
cinema production, the satirical tapes by the 
independent production group Olhar Electron- 
ic©, are funny and sophisticated, sometimes 
employing experimental techniques. 

In-kind donations of time and materials, as 
well as Ranucci's own editing system, made it 
possible to dub inexpensive distribution copies. 
Translators from the Latino community in 
the U.S. donated their time, and the Down- 
town Community TV Center provided thou- 
sands of dollars worth of postproduction equip- 
ment to subtitle the tapes. Democracy in 
Communication is offered as a flexible pack- 
age — exhibitors can show all or part of it. 
Ranucci helps groups put together thematic 
programs: on Latin American women or 
underground video from Chile, for example. 
Rentals are offered on a sliding scale to make 
it possible for community groups to use it. In 
fact, Ranucci encourages renters to keep the 
tapes and repeat showings. 

The venues that have exhibited Democracy 



in Communication are almost as diverse as 
the producers represented. The American 
Film Institute screened it as a special exhibi- 
tion at the National Video Festival, a partial 
program was shown at the Flaherty Seminar, 
and others have been sponsored by the Third 
World Film Festival in Atlanta; Cine Festi- 
val, the showcase for Latin American films 
organized by the Guadelupe Cultural and Arts 
Center in San Antonio, Texas; the Port 
Washington Library on Long Island; the Insti- 
tute for Contemporary Arts in Boston; and 
the Committee in Solidarity with the People 
of El Salvador-Philadelphia. Ranucci sees the 
package as a first step in building a distribu- 
tion network for Latin American programs, 
and has been cooperating with distribution 
groups like the El Salvador Media Project, 
Paper Tiger TV, and X-Change TV. 

RT 



MASTER WHAT 
POSSIBILITIES? 

The newest distribution outlet to appear on 
the horizon is the video vending machine. It 
may be only a matter of months before record- 
ed cassettes, automatically dispensed at the 
flick of a credit card, will be as easy to score 
as a candy bar. Most machines currently in 



operation hold 300 to 400 tapes, comprising 
80 to 90 titles — mostly feature films. They are 
found in shopping malls, Seven-Elevens, and 
other public places where vending machines 
are common. Late returns on rentals are auto- 
matically charged to the customer's card. 

Group 1 Entertainment of Los Angeles is 
currently test-marketing its Movie Machine at 
450 sites in southern California, with an eye 
toward "going nationwide, then worldwide," 
according to West Coast marketing manager 
Bill Durfee. Sites include groceries, hospitals, 
hotels, gas stations, high-rise office buildings, 
and corporate complexes. 

The types of films selected reflect standard 
industry demographics: adventure titles in the 
Midwest, musicals and drama for the West 
Coast, and so on. Any future for independent 
works in this market? "We would be open to 
whatever tape would sell," said Durfee, adding 
that his company "plans on using top 40 for 
the most part." 

ETHAN YOUNG 



JANE MORRISON: 
1947-1987 

Jane Morrison, filmmaker and past president 
of the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmaker's board of directors, died after a 



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sudden attack of malaria in Nairobi, Kenya, 
on January 21. She was 39. The New York- 
based producer was in Nairobi attending a 
film festival at the invitation of the Kenyan 
government, with the intention of traveling on 
to Zimbabwe to teach a series of film 
workshops. 

Her work included both documentaries and 
dramatic productions, most dealing with the 
culture of Maine, her home state. A sense of 
"otherness" resulting from the clash of 
cultures she encountered in moving from 
small town to inner city was also expressed in 
her best-known film, The Two Worlds of 
Angelita, which depicts the migration of a 
family from Puerto Rico to New York City. 
The 1984 dramatic feature won the Prix 
d'Honneur at the Biarritz Festival in Paris. 

Speaking on the making of a film whose 
subject "crosses over" to another culture, 
Morrison once noted, "I passed my 'ugly Amer- 
ican test' among Puerto Ricans, but the Amer- 
ican funders never could figure out what made 
me think / could understand Puerto Ricans if 
they could not. Many of my friends and associ- 
ates confided that they wished I wouldn't do a 
film about Puerto Ricans. Of course, this only 
made me work harder." She stressed the need 
to "avoid stereotypes, represent reality, and 
present the point of view from the inside." 

Morrison was once described by champion 
Muhammad Ali, who met her at the Latin 
American Cinema festival in Havana, as "a 
net where hearts are caught like fish." 

A memorial fund has been established in 
Jane Morrison's honor. For more information, 
contact Women Make Movies, 225 Lafayette 
Street, #212, New York, NY 10012. 

EY 



ALROBBINS: 1938-1987 

Al Robbins, whose life and work were marked 
by fierce intensity, died suddenly in California 
on February 8. Born in Chicago in 1938, 
Robbins studied design and architecture with 
Buckminster Fuller and, later, philosophy. He 
began working in film in the 1960s, finishing 
Gut Poem in 1969. He turned to video in 1974. 
In New York, where he lived, his Anticata- 
strophe Tapes were shown at Anthology Film 
Archives, and appeared in installation form at 
P.S. 1 and the Whitney Museum of American 
Art. His work also shown at the Akedemie der 
Kunste in Dusseldorf and the Stedelijk Mu- 
seum in Amsterdam. A poet as well as a video 
artist, Robbins published a collection of his 
writings. Don't Let These Words Set, in 1980. 

Robbins' personal energy was evident in the 
raw and elemental tapes he created. He was 
profoundly concerned with the "physical- 
ness" — and metaphysics — of video. His extra- 
ordinary vision and articulation stretched the 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 




possibilities of video, and his own power and 
strength were a challenge to artists and friends 
alike. His manner of living and of working 
bespoke his keen sensitivity to the world, the 
inseparability of his thought processes from 
that world. He leaves us grateful for and in 
awe of this sensitivity and his special ability to 
reach deep into the center of each nerve. 

ANNE BRATACH 



SEQUELS 

New York's Film Forum has taken over the 
programming of its second screen, Film 
Forum 2, for the first time since the opening 
of the twin cinema in September 1981. 
Previously the theater was licensed to commer- 
cial companies that have shown repertory, 
first-run, and move-over titles, while Film 
Forum 1 has specialized in presenting New 
York theatrical premieres of U.S. independent 
and foreign art features. Bruce Goldstein, an 
independent programmer and publicist, has 
been hired as the new Film Forum program 
coordinator. 

Ron Hull, director of the Program Fund at the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, issued a 
disappointing response to several requests by 
the Coalition of Independent Public 
Broadcasting Producers made at the Pro- 
gram Fund/Coalition's December meeting 
["Raising the Ante," March 1986]. In his five 
page letter of January 30, Hull refused the Co- 
alition's request for a $500,000 increase in 
program funding through Open Solicitations 
and a special Program Fund request for new 
independent series ideas. He did send a letter 
to WGBH, as requested by the Coalition, 
affirming CPB's requirement that a "signifi- 
cant" number of programs within the new 
American Experience series be made by inde- 
pendent producers but declined to stress that 
they should be producers not previously asso- 
ciated with the station. He also refused to 



The cast of Los 
Dos Mundos de 
Angelita (The Two 
Worlds of 
Angelitd), the 
1984 feature by 
Jane Morrison. 

Courtesy Women Make 
Movies 



instruct WGBH to establish an advisory com- 
mittee of independent producers for the series. 
Hull also turned down the Coalition's request 
that step-up funds — money required to cover 
the costs of preparing programs for national 
broadcast — be restored to the level of 
$250,000 in 1987 and increased to $500,000 in 
1988. Instead, only $138,936 has been alloca- 
ted for 1987, according to Hull's letter. He 
also wrote that it remains unclear how much 
will be available in 1988, citing "lack of discre- 
tionary dollars available." Finally, Hull re- 
fused to issue a policy statement to PBS re- 
quiring that step-up funds be substantially 
allocated to independents. He did, however, 
agree to share PBS reports identifying recip- 
ients of those funds with the Coalition. 

The Learning Channel will get another 
boost from the John D. And Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation ["Sequels," Janu- 
ary/ February 1987] in the form of a $1.7- 
million grant to TLC's parent company, the 
nonprofit Appalachian Community Service 
Network. The money will underwrite produc- 
tion and promotion of 52 hours of indepen- 
dent film and video programming. 

Richard Brookhiser, senior editor of the Na- 
tional Review and member of the board of 
directors of the Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting, has declined renomination to the 
board. Brookhiser, whose term ends March 26, 
has been the major advocate for the proposed 
content analysis of public affairs pro- 
gramming on PBS [see "Board in Flames: 
Conservatives Take Control at CPB," Jan- 
uary/February 1987]. With his exit and inten- 
sified scrutiny of CPB by Democrat-controlled 
congressional committees, the content analysis 
proposal may become history. 

President Reagan has announced the nomin- 
ation of Sheila Burke Tate, former press 
secretary to Nancy Reagan and senior vice 
president at the Washington PR firm Burson- 
Marsteller, to the CPB board. 



The Suffolk County 

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1987 



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APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 




Michelle Parkerson 



Editor's note: Michelle Parkerson and Yvonne 
Rainer's articles in this issue continue a series 
of papers and transcribed talks delivered at 
ViewPoints: A Conference on Women, Cul- 
ture, and Public Media held at Hunter College 
in New York City on November 8 and 9, 1986 
[see January/February 1987]. This national 
conference was independently organized by a 
committee of women involved in film, video, 
and photography (including The Independent 
editor Martha Gever and associate editor 
Renee Tajima), cosponsored by Women Make 
Movies and Hunter College Women's Studies 
Department, and funded by the New York 
State Council on the Arts and the New York 
Council on the Humanities. 



Image-making is power. Film and video, the 
most powerful and expensive visual arts, are 
sophisticated tools of political persuasion and 
history-writing. Traditionally used to mutilate 
and stereotype, mass media has been killing 
women and people of color softly for some 
time. But the independent film and video com- 
munity, particularly Black independent and 
feminist filmmakers, create with an under- 
standing that film and video no longer serve 
as mere entertainment in these dangerous 
times. We use film and video to validate our 
herstory and experiences, where before there 
was only distortion. Where before there was 



Storme DeLorverie, 
the former mistress/ 
master of cere- 
monies at the Jewel 
Box Revue, and the 
subject of Michelle 
Parkerson s new 
documentary. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



rjo documentation of our lives and work, we 
are using media to answer the void. 

For many independent film and video- 
makers, the choice in our work stands between 
social commitment — social cause — or creati- 
vity, often between cause or funding. Though 
the decision to produce alternatively — outside 
the mainstream of Hollywood and the net- 
works — is essentially a political choice, inde- 
pendents sometimes find themselves favoring 
"creativity" over cause. Producers focus on 
technology devoid of consciousness to attain 
"universality" or saleability or, conversely, ex- 
ploit political issues with the didatic use of 
media as agitprop. 

I am interested in using film and video as 
vehicles for social change: an alternative vi- 
sion, a voice for the silenced or forgotten. I 
am also committed to demystifying the film- 
making process. My work focuses on the depth 
and diversity of African American women in 
nontraditional roles, with a specific eye on the 
empowerment embodied in the lives and con- 
tributions of unsung Black women artists. 

Cause is a personal foundation rooted in 
concerns and issues that motivate me to strug- 
gle for change. Politics is not simply ideology 
or affiliation or slogan; it is daily life. It is how 
I meet and experience the world — Black, 
female, and lesbian. It is where I spend my 
money, who I sleep with, what I eat, where I 
live, how I interact with each of you. It is the 
films and videos I commit myself to making. 
In this regard, cause is the source of my 
creativity. Commercially speaking, the person- 




al vision of independent film and video- 
makers — highlighting the extraordinary lives 
of ordinary people — is our most marketable 
asset. It offers imagery alternatives to the 
status quo of mainstream media, and audi- 
ences want the choice. 

The power of images lies in their ability to 
influence and persuade audiences because, for 
a few fleeting moments, people suspend their 
belief in the "real world" and become absorb- 
ed in whatever comes on the screen. The way 
issues or people are presented via lighting, 
camera angle, dialogue, etc., as well as what 
people or issues are presented, convey value 
judgments and social attitudes. 

The power of image-making lies in the 
editorial process. The way images are present- 
ed and what images are selected convey a poli- 
tical slant. Historically, women and people of 
color have merely been images on the screen 
or spectators. Rarely have we been the image- 
makers. Black independent films surfaced in 
the silent era with "race movies" geared to seg- 
regated, all-Negro audiences. Early Black di- 
rectors and producers (among them, Oscar 
Micheaux and the Johnson Brothers) were, 
almost without exception, male. The history 
of African American women as producers, 
directors, cinematographers, and editors is, on 
the other hand, a recent history, beginning 
with Madeline Anderson's works in the mid- 
sixties. White women, by virtue of racial privi- 
lege, also have a legacy of filmmaking dating 
back to Lois Weber and Alice Guy Blache in 
the silent era and, later, Dorothy Arzner, all 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 




leading directors working in Hollywood 
studios. 

As a producer, I am keenly aware that show 
business is business. The average cost of most 
"broadcast quality" independent media pro- 
duction is $2,000 per minute and rising, while 
public support for the arts and social services 
has greatly diminished under the Reagan re- 
gime. Creative funding strategies — including 
foreign coproduction deals, limited partner- 
ships, working with and for independents, 
corporate underwriting, public television fund- 
ing, private support — are being utilized in 
various combinations to produce independent 
work based on political issues. 

As a producer, certain choices shape con- 
cepts and present messages. You must decide 
on the selection of images and information. 
You must decide how to order those things for 
the optimum visual and emotional effect. 
Those editorial choices involve the image it- 
self: whether film or video is used, aesthetic 
considerations (high production design or 
cinema verite, black and white or color), 
genre (documentary, animation, dramatic fea- 
ture, or format combinations), and the selec- 
tion process (what scenes are used or deleted, 
how to effectively link or order scenes into a 
total perspective). Images convey information 
and attitudes. As important, so does sound or 
the lack of it. Images and sound set up situa- 
tions, juxtapose and parallel information. But 
most powerfully, film and video can illu- 
minate history. 

Of my own work, Storme: The Lady of the 
Jewel Box is a documentary on Storme De 
Larverie, male impersonator and former M.C. 
of the legendary Jewel Box Revue, one of 
America's first integrated female imperson- 
ation shows. During the fifties and sixties, the 
Revue did an unprecedented tour of the Black 
theater circuit in a social climate where 
segregation and McCarthyism held sway. A 
forerunner of La Cage aux Folles, the Jewel 
Box Revue's flamboyant rise to international 
popularity spanned 40-years (1939-1973). 
Storme... chronicles the grandeur of the Jewel 



Crewwomen Audrey 
Barnes (left, 
foreground) and 
Orinne J.T. Takagi 
(right) confer with 
Parkerson (center) 
during the making of 
Storme. 

Photo: Sharon Farmer 



Box Revue through the remarkable life story 
of its host. It profiles a woman, an era, and 
integral slice of Black lesbian and gay history. 

My documentary feature Gotta Make This 
Journey is a video profile of Sweet Honey in 
the Rock, who describe themselves as a radical 
Black women's acappella ensemble. All six of 
its members live and work in Washington, 
D.C. Now embarking on their thirteenth year, 
Sweet Honey serves the cause of international 
social activism through their music, while this 
music remains rooted in Black traditional and 
civil rights song. Journey revolves around 
Sweet Honey's ninth anniversary concert and 
highlights the history and diversity of the 
group. Their individual lives and concerns and 
their outreach to the deaf community are fea- 
tured as well. The program's intent was not 
only to document the crosscultural impact of 
Sweet Honey's work, but to also present a larg- 
er statement about how Black women are em- 
powering themselves. Additionally, Journey 
gives an alternative perspective of music as a 
weapon for social change. 

I am one of a growing number of Black 
independent filmmakers who are expanding 
into video. I am one of roughly 20 Black wo- 
men across the country who work independent- 
ly in film and video. I came to video and 
filmmaking from the theater, and my fervor 
for these media was fueled by my mother, an 
avid movie fan and theater-goer. It was her 
passion for the arts of filmmaking and acting 
that first introduced me to names like Vincent 
Minelli and Frank Capra, Edith Head and 
Adrian, and movie stars like Joan Crawford, 
Loretta Young, and Dorothy Dandridge, 
Hollywood's first Black film goddess. After 
becoming active in Washington community 
theater during high school, I majored in film 
production at Temple University. My decision 
to switch from theater to film study was deep- 
ly influenced by the urgency of the Black 
Nationalist and women's movements of the 
early seventies. The impetus to control one's 
body, history, and destiny filtered through 
these concurrent liberation struggles and left 



an indelible mark on me. Black Nationalism 
and feminism kindled my political awareness 
and ultimately catalyzed my search for a syn- 
thesis between politics, my daily life, and 
work. 

In a sense, my work can be categorized as 
"docutainment," i.e., reworking history 
through the documentary genre in combin- 
ation with performance segments. The sub- 
jects of my documentaries are Black women 
artists. Somewhat like crossover music, the 
entertainment elements in these productions 
allow generic acceptance of the artists 
through their music while subliminally allow- 
ing an acceptance of the artists' politics. 

I pursue the risks and challenges that film 
and video present politically and artistically. 
As a Black lesbian and filmmaker, I have a 
passion for redefining the capacity to com- 
municate thorugh media. I have a passion for 
creativity utilizing technology as a tool for 
activism, visibility, and rewriting herstory — 
because, at best, the beauty and power of film 
and videomaking meshes both cause and crea- 
tivity. And there is still work to be done above 
and beyond rectifying the damage left by the 
white, male culture. Tackling homophobia 
and sexism in the Black independent film com- 
munity as well as racism and class oppression 
within the feminist film community are chal- 
lenges still facing us at the end of the decade. 

Michelle Parkerson is a writer and inde- 
pendent producer based in Washington, D.C. 
Storme is her current film-in-progress. 

© Michelle Parkerson 1986 




For 13 years, Sweet Honey and the Rock 
have used music as a weapon for social 
change, from Parkerson's Gotta 
Make This Journey. 

Courtesy videomaker 



APR'L 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



THOUGHTS ON WOMEN'S CINEMA: 

Eating Words, Voicing Struggles 



Yvonne Rainer 



Polemics and manifestos having always served 
as sparkplugs to my energies and imagination, 
I've been surprised when, following their publi- 
cation, such statements were taken with what 
seemed to be excessive seriousness. Thus, in 
the mid-sixties, when I said "no" to this and 
"no" to that in dance and theater, I could not 
forsee that these words would dog my footsteps 
and beg me to eat them (or at least modify 
them) for the next 20 years. Such may be the 
case with my more recent stance toward/ 
against/for narrative conventions in cinema. 
Raised, as I have been, with this century's 
western notions of adversarial aesthetics, I con- 
tinue to have difficulty in accommodating my 
latest articulation of the narrative "prob- 
lem" — i.e., according to Theresa De Lauretis' 
conflation of narrativity itself with the Oedi- 
pus complex, whereby woman's position is con- 
stantly reinstated for the consummation or 
frustration of male desire. The difficulty lies 
in accommodating this with a conviction that 
it is of the utmost urgency that women's 
voices, experience, and consciousness — at 
whatever stage — be expressed in all their 
multiplicity and heterogeneity, and in as many 



formats and styles — narrative or not — from 
queendom come and throughout the kingdom. 
In relation to the various notions of an avant 
garde, this latter view, in its emphasis on voic- 
ing what has previously gone unheard, gives 
priority to unmasking and reassessing social 
relations rather than overturning previously 
validated aesthetic positions. My personal ac- 
commodation becomes more feasible when 
cast in terms of difference rather than opposi- 
tion and when the question is asked, "Which 
strategies bring women together in recognition 
of their common and different economic and 
sexual oppression, and which strategies do 
not?" The creation of oppositional categories 
of women's film or video, or, for starters, film 
and video, begs this question. 

For what it's worth, here is a list of useless 
oppositions. Documentary vs. fiction. Work in 
which the voices carry a unified truth vs. work 
in which truth must be wrested from conflict- 
ing or conflicted voices. Work that adheres to 
traditional codes vs. work in which the story is 
disrupted by stylistic incongruities or digres- 
sions (Helke Sanders' Redupers, Laura Mulvey 
and Peter Wollen's Riddles of the Sphinx). 
Work with a beginning, middle, and end vs. 
work that has a beginning and then turns into 
something else (Marguerite Duras' Nathalie 



Granger). Work in which the characters run 
away with the movie vs. work whose 
characters never get off the ground (Rabina 
Rose's Nightshift). Work in which women tell 
their herstories (Julia Reichert and Jim 
Klein's Union Maids) vs. work in which they 
parody them (Ana Carolina's Hearts and 
Guts). Work that delivers information in a 
straightforward manner (Jackie Ochs' Secret 
Agent) vs. work in which information accrues 
slowly, elliptically, or poetically (Trinh Minh- 
ha's Naked Spaces). Work in which the her- 
oine acts vs. work in which she does nothing 
but talk (my Journeys from Berlin! 1971). 
Work in which she triumphs vs. work in 
which she fails (Valie Export's Invisible Ad- 
versaries). Work in which she is a searcher or 
dominatrix (Bene Gordon's Variety, Monika 
Treut and Elfi Mikesch's Seduction: The Cruel 
Woman) vs. work in which she is a victim 
(Lynne Tillman and Sheila McLaughlin's 
Committed). Work whose heroines you like 
(Connie Field's Rosie the Riveter, Julie Dash's 
Illusions) vs. work whose heroines repel you 
(Doris Dome's Straight to the Heart, Chantal 
Akerman's je, tu, il, elle). Work in which you 
nearly drown in exotic signifiers of femininity 
(Leslie Thornton's Adynata) vs. work whose 
director can't figure out how to dress the her- 




Left: From Rosie the 
Riveter, by Connie Field. 

Photo: Gordon Parks 

Right: From Straight to the 
Heart, by Dorris Dorrie. 

Courtesy New Line Cinema 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



oine, so removes her altogether (my The Man 
Who Envied Women). All these films share a 
potential for political purpose and historical 
truth. 

I could go on ad infinitum with these divide- 
and-conquer oppositions. There is one other 
example I'm not going to give equal footing 
with the others but will mention in passing 
only in so far as it bears a deceptive resem- 
blance to the others: Films in which the 
heroine marries the man vs. films in which 
she murders him. We have only to look in 
vain for recent films by women that end in 
marriage to realize what a long way we've 
come, give or take the baby. Marriage at the 
beginning maybe, but at the end, never. I chal- 
lenge anyone to name one in recent memory. 
Murder, on the other hand, is a different 
story. As Joan Braderman pointed out last 
spring at the Gender and Visual Represen- 
tation Conference at the University of Massa- 
chusetts, in the past 10 years a substantial 
number of women's films have been produced 
that focus on a murder of a man by a woman 
or women. To name a few: Akerman's Jeanne 
Dielman, Marlene Gorris' A Question of 
Silence, Dome's Straight to the Heart, Sally 
Heckel's A Jury of Her Peers, Margaretha Von 
Trotta's Sheer Madness. 

The phenomenon of man-murder in wo- 
men's films points to the problematic of repre- 
senting men. Do we wreak revenge on them 
(if for no other reason than the cinematic 
sway they have held over us for so long), turn 
the tables on them, turn them into celluloid 
wimps, give them ample screen time in which 
to speak self-evident macho bullshit, do away 
with them by murder within the story, or eli- 
minate them from the story to begin with? Do 
we focus on exceptional men who escape the 
above stereotypes, or do we weave Utopian 
scenarios in which men and women gambol in 
egalitarian bliss? Lynne Tillman and I pon- 
dered the question of whether it is politically 
useful to allow ourselves to be fascinated with 
men in our films even as we discussed the 
strange fascination with the 1986 World Series 
that had befallen the two of us along with 
every woman we know. 

Following one screening of The Man Who 
Envied Women, a well-known feminist who 
subscribes to Lacanian psychoanalytic theory 
asked me why I hadn't made a film about a 
woman. I was flabbergasted, having been 
under the impression that I had done just that. 
But she, taking the title literally and taken in 
by the prevailing physical presence of the 
male character, had discounted the pursuing, 
nagging, questioning female voice on the 
soundtrack. By staying out of sight my heroine 
is never caught with her pants down. Does this 
mean the film is not about her? 

It's also been noted that my female char- 
acters are not heroines. I would qualify that: 
My heroines are not heroic. They are deeply 
skeptical of easy solutions and very self-criti- 



Top: From The 
Man Who Envied 
Women, by 
Yvonne Rainer. 

Courtesy filmmaker 

Bottom: From 
Adyanta, by 
Leslie Thornton. 

Courtesy Women Make 
Movies 




cal, constantly looking for their own compli- 
city in patriarchal configurations. But neither 
are they cynical or pessimistic. The moments I 
like best in my films are those that 
produce — almost simultaneously — both asser- 
tion and question. Early on in TMWEW the 
assertion that women can't be committed fem- 
inists unless they give up men is uttered as 
part of a conversation, overheard by a man in 
the foreground, by a woman who is testing her 
female companion by quoting yet another wo- 
man whose relationship to the speaker is not 
identified and who never appears. The two 
speakers are also anonymous and are never 
seen again once this scene is over. I, the direc- 
tor, am not trying in this scene to persuade my 
audience of the Tightness or wrongness of the 
statement. What is important is that it be 
given utterance, because in our culture, out- 
side of a convent, giving up men freely and 
willingly — that is, without the social coercion 
of aging — is a highly stigmatized act or down- 
right taboo. The linkage of giving up men, in 
this scene, with commitment as a feminist, 
however, is distanced and made arguable 
through the device of having the spectator be- 



come an eavesdropper on the conversation 
along with the foregrounded male character, 
then distanced once more through quotation. 
"She told me," says this minor, will-o-the- 
wisp heroine, "that I would never be a commit- 
ted feminist until I give up men." 

Whether an utterance comes across as femin- 
ist prescription, call-to-arms, or problem-arti- 
culated-ambiguously-to-be-dealt- with-or-not- 
later-in-the-film is always on my mind in the 
collecting, mounting, and framing of texts. If 
the experience of watching certain kinds of 
social documentaries is like watching the 
bouncing ball come down at exactly the right 
moment on the syllables of the familiar song, 
watching a film of mine may be more akin to 
"now you see it, now you don't." You never 
know when you're going to be hit on the head 
with the ball, and you aren't always sure what 
to do when the ball disappears for long stretch- 
es of time. 

Which brings me to what might be called a 
method of interrogating my characters and 
myself when I set out to make a film. Think- 
ing about this has been facilitated by reread- 
ing Bill Nichols' essay, "The Voice o\ Docu- 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



mentary," which poses certain questions that 
are relevant to both fiction and documentary. 
To what degree are we to believe a given 
speaker in a film? Do all the speakers convey 
a unified vision of a given history? Do the 
speakers emerge as autonomous shapers of a 
personal destiny or as subjects conditioned by 
the contradictions and pressures of a particular 
historical period? To what degree does a given 
film convey an independent consciousness, a 
voice of its own, probing, remembering, sus- 
taining, doubting, functioning as a surrogate 
for our own consciousness? Do the questioning 
and believing of such a film question its own 
operations? Does the activity of fixing 
meaning in such a film refer to relations 
outside the film — "out there" — or does the 
film remain stalled in its own reflexivity? Is 
reflexivity the only alternative to films that 
simply suppose that things were as the parti- 
cipant-witnesses recall or state them, or as they 
appear to the spectator, in the case of fiction 
films? 

Finally: Should a film whose main project is 
to restore the voice and subjectivity of a pre- 
viously ignored or suppressed person or seg- 
ment of the population, should such a film 



contain argument, contradiction, or express 
the director's ambivalence within the film 
either directly, through language, or indirectly, 
through stylistic intervention? Obviously, we 
can't afford to be prescriptive about any of 
this. 

My own solution runs to keeping an extra- 
diegetic voice, a voice separate from the char- 
acters and story, fairly active in every scene. It 
need not take the form of a narrating voice, 
although it often does. Sometimes it takes the 
form of a Til Eulenspiegel-Uke disruption, as 
when an anonymous woman enters the frame 
just before a troubling bit of sexual theory is 
ennunciated, peers into the camera lens, and 
asks all the menstruating women to leave the 
theater. Sometimes it operates like a kind of 
seizure, producing odd behavior in a given 
character, as when the analysand in Journeys 
from Berlin speaks in baby-talk. Often it 
comes across in reading or recitation, which 
has the effect of separating the voice of the 
character from that of the author of his or 
her words. 

At this historical moment we still need to 
search out and be reminded of suppressed his- 
tories and struggles: prosititutes, housewives. 



women of color, lesbians, third world people, 
the aging, working women. The method of re- 
presenting these histories is a separate and 
equally important issue. I see no reason why a 
single film can't use many different methods, 
which is something I've been saying for years 
but didn't come close to realizing until 
TMWEW. In this film fictional and docu- 
mentary modes come into play more fully 
than in any of my previous work, offsetting 
the calculation of my still-cherished recita- 
tions and readings with the immediacy of dra- 
matic and documentary enactment. These last 
are, admittedly, the strategies that offer the 
spectator the most powerful sense of the real. 
But reality, as we so well know, always lies 
elsewhere, a fact that we nevertheless end- 
lessly seek to disavow and from which we 
always retreat. I shall continue to remind us of 
that disavowal by challenging reality's repre- 
sentational proxies with assorted hanky- 
panky. I hope others continue to do likewise 
and otherwise. 

Yvonne Rainer is a filmmaker and ex- 
choreographer. 

© Yvonne Rainer 1987 



Letter on South Africa 



Mfundi Vundla 



Editor' s note: In the December 1986 issue of 
The Independent, we published a letter from a 
group of South African media professionals 
disputing many of the arguments made by 
Charlayne Haynes in her article "For a 
Cultural Boycott of South Africa" [Janu- 
ary/February 1986]. They questioned the effec- 
tiveness of a general cultural boycott strategy, 
asking instead that independent media produc- 
ers in the U.S. participate in a selective boycott 
against distribution of the products of the 
commercial entertainment industry and build 
alliances with cultural activists working within 
South Africa by allowing their productions to be 
shown in noncommercial contexts. Haynes. on 
the other hand, maintained that noncommercial 
cultural events like the Durban Film Festival, a 
venue for independent films, serves the pur- 
poses of official South African propaganda, 
giving a liberal face to apartheid. We asked 
Mfundi Vundla, a South African writer and art- 
ist living in New York City to respond, and he 
sent the following letter. 

I think the controversy generated by Charlayne 
Haynes' article. "For a Cultural Boycott of 
South Africa," is instructive on the whole issue 
of the cultural blockade of South Africa. As a 



Black South African scriptwriter, I support the 
boycott. I have recently written a script for 
Lorimar for a CBS movie on the situation in 
South Africa. I was enocuraged by Lorimar's 
announcement last year that they were no longer 
going to renew contracts for their products in 
South Africa. 

I mention Lorimar because I am persuaded 
by the argument of the South African media pro- 
fessionals that anti-Apartheid activists must 
target the studios, because they provide the bulk 
of the film product sent to South Africa. If it is 
our intention to hurt the whites who support the 
Boer fascist government, then let's deprive 
them of the films they watch. South Africa start- 
ed making cosmetic changes in their sports 
policies after the International Olympic commit- 
tee and other international sports organizations 
deprived them of access to the world inter- 
national sports events. We need the media 
equivalent to this. If Paul Newman, Barbara 
Streisand, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Martin 
Scorcese, Meryl Streep, and Robert De Niro 
were to stand up tomorrow and tell the studios 
that they do not want to have their films shown 
in South Africa, that would be a great boost. It 
would deprive the white people and their white 
government of a major staple of their cultural 
diet. 

I am not impressed, however, by the other 
arguments made by the South African group. 



I suspect that they are over estimating the im- 
portance of the Durban Festival. I noticed only 
two African names among the people who sign- 
ed the letter protesting Haynes' article. I also 
suspect that the Durban Festival is predomi- 
nantly attracting white film buffs. The South 
African filmmakers feel inconvenienced. That's 
it. That festival is of no major import, at least in 
so far as it making an impact in South Africa. It 
is for this reason that the Boer government 
allows it to exist in the first place. The truth is. 
the South African government may point to it as 
evidence of its "liberal" orientation, although I 
do not know whether it has done this. If any- 
thing, the pseudo-marxism that permeates their 
response indicates their peripheral position in re- 
lation to the national liberation movement in 
South Africa. 

Independent filmmakers in this country 
should make common cause with the Free 
South Africa Movement and put pressure on 
the studios to divest their business operations 
in South Africa. People in South Africa do 
not care that Lizzie Borden, St. Clair Bourne. 
Sam Sills, Jim Jarmusch. or Spike Lee are boy- 
cotting South Africa (let me note, I fully respect 
independent filmmakers supporting the cultural 
blockade). But they do care and they will sit up 
once the studios decide en masse to pull out of 
that country. 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



1 . The Early Years 



Avant- 

Garde 

Film 



T. ZUMMER 




Un Chandelier 

S. Dali/L.Bunuel 




.Impotemkin. 

S. Eiscnsvcin 




Messes in4:Ke 
Afternoon* 

Maya Peren 




Valet Mecanique' 

Ferndnd Lege 1 " 




The Man Wi^h 
a Pick- up Truck 

P^iga Verto u 




Large Door 

Luis Bufvjel 




Toast Before 
Breakfast " 

HdH> Richtcr 




Intrac-koble' 

Rene cldir- 




Anorexic Cinema 

Marcel DucKamp 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



2. Masterworks of the American Avant-Garde: 




Flaming Preacher' 

- Jack 5mj-H-i 




Naucfahyde 

- Andy Warhol 




Taurus Rising 




Serene Velocipede 



-Ernie, CieWv 




S-S-O.-M-E^T^HM-N^, 

S:s-o : ra-*E.TH : t : N*a, 



Phu\ Sharih 




La Region Pentale 

- PUckad SrvouJ 




peg -Star -Pork -chop' 

-Star Brakhdge 




Fassion 

■Jean-Luc Godard 




Sorihd Lemor\5 

- Ro Ill's Frctmptoirt 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



3. Post-Avant-Garde 




Je,Tu, Oh-OK" 

- chantdl. Ackerman 




Aydonwant<3 

- Leslie Thornton 




Daughter of 
K-rtart 




Tourney^ from 
Bloomin^dales" 

" Yvonne R.airier 




Gently Pown 
the Drain" 

- Su Fried rich 




Aim! 



ess 



Peter Wo'ilei-w'Laufd MuWey 




Deux Foux 

- Tackie "Rayna't 




Naked Places, 
Hangn'n^ Around 

-Tnnh T- MmK-Ka 




Bored wiiK Fame 

Li^Z-ic: Borden 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



FESTIVALS 

THIRD CINEMA AT EDINBURGH: 
REFLECTIONS ON A PIONEERING EVENT 




Sankofa s 
feature film, The 
Passion of 
Remembrance , 
investigates 
differences 
within the Black 
community in 
Britain, using a 
variety of styles 
and devices 
reflecting the 
complexity of its 
subject. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



Kobena Mercer 



Ed.'s note: In place of a general report on the 
1986 Edinburgh International Film Festival, 
which was planned for this issue but never ar- 
rived, we are reprinting Kobena Mercer's 
account of the Third Cinema: Theories and 
Practices conference, held during the festival 
on August 11-13, 1986 and sponsored by the 
British Film Institute. Mercer's article appear- 
ed in the November/December 1986 issue of 
Screen (Vol. 27, No. 6), and we are grateful to 
the author, editor, and publisher for permis- 
sion to reprint it here. We have included infor- 
mation in Mercer' s original footnotes in the 
text and altered some spelling and punctua- 
tion to conform to The Independent's style. 

It would be best to describe the conference on 
Third Cinema at this year's Edinburgh Film 
Festival as a surface of emergence. Structured 
around this flexible and open-ended term for 
independent film practices in the geo-political 
spaces of the Third World and its metropolitan 
diaspora(s), the event brought together film- 
makers, scholars, cultural activists, and critics 
from Africa, India, Sri Lanka, the United States, 
and Britain. The three days of intense debate, 
and screenings of new and rarely seen films, pro- 
vided an international frame of reference for a 



range of emerging differences in approach to 
cinema as a site of cultural struggle. 

The term "Third Cinema" was first coined 
by the Argentinian filmmakers Octavio Getino 
and Fernando Solanas. With Glauber Rocha's 
call for a "New Cinema" and Julio Garcia Espin- 
osa's manifesto for an "Imperfect Cinema," it 
marked the debate on the aesthetics and politics 
of film in struggles for cultural liberation that 
characterized the radical Latin American film 
culture of the 1960s. The term differentiated an 
ideologically combative film practice from both 
the commodity products of dominant film in- 
dustries and the cinematic values of "auteur- 
ism." It has since been theoretically developed, 
and its reference expanded, by Ethiopian schol- 
ar Teshome Gabriel as a more general frame- 
work for the study not just of films made in the 
Third World, but of oppositional film practices 
that articulate cultural struggles [Third Cinema 
in the Third World: The Aesthetics of Libera- 
tion, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1982]. In 
this sense the concept of a "Third Cinema" cuts 
across the boundaries of national cinemas and, 
as Jim Pines and Paul Willemen emphasized in 
their opening remarks at the conference, its very 
flexibility seems appropriate for the designation 
of a variety of emerging trends in radical film 
theory and practice. Because it does not func- 
tion as a rigid classificatory term and seeks to 
avoid setting up yet another hegemonic norm 



for "correct" filmmaking, the idea seems particu- 
larly relevant to the emergent black independent 
film sector in Britain [and the United States]. It 
would be useful to place the event in this local 
historical context so as to draw out some of the 
issues debated. 

Within the terms of this specific conjuncture. 
Third Cinema continued a conversation on the 
politics of race, nation, and ethnicity in the cul- 
tural institution of cinema which began with the 
Black Film Festival, organized by Jim Pines, at 
the Commonwealth Institute and the National 
Film Theatre [in London] in 1982. That event 
enabled a young generation of black film work- 
shops, such as Black Audio Film Collective, 
Ceddo, and Sankofa, to make links with their 
Afro-American counterparts. Its success also 
demonstrated an incredible hunger for images 
among black audiences in Britain. In the wake 
of the political events of 1981 and the advent of 
Channel Four, it pinpointed a keen interest for 
black interventions in film and television, a new 
threshold of cultural struggle around the image 
[see special "Media Focus" issue of Artrage, 
No. 3/4. 1983]. The subsequent Third Eye 
symposium organised by June Givanni and 
Parminder Vir and the Greater London Coun- 
cil in 1983 consolidated links between film- 
makers on a global scale by prioritizing issues 
of production, finance, distribution, and exhi- 
bition. By highlighting the common concern 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



with the relative underdevelopment of an 
economic infrastructure for independent black 
and Third World film, Third Eye drew atten- 
tion to the parallels between center and peri- 
phery in terms of a struggle for access to the 
technology of cinema. At another level, it also 
reflected the impact of black and Third 
World feminisms, as issues of women's inter- 
vention on either side of the camera were 
brought into the foreground of debate [docu- 
mented in Third Eye: Struggle for Black and 
Third World Cinema, Greater London Coun- 
cil, Race Equality Unit, 1986]. In the context of 
the radical policies on cultural production 
pursued by the GLC administration, their 
Anti Racist Film Programme of 1984 broke new 
ground in terms of exhibition strategies. Given 
that many mainstream distributors refuse to take 
on Third World films, regarding them as of 
"minority interest" and therefore "marginal," 
the GLC's local initiative helped build up 
wider audiences by setting up, on a small scale, 
alternative networks of exhibition among 
schools, colleges, community centers, and arts 
groups. Equally, if not more importantly, each 
of these events has nurtured the development 
of black independents by simply showing films 
from the Third World and the United States 
which otherwise would have been unseen and 
unknown. 

The series of screenings and discussions organ- 
ized under the theme of Cultural Identities earli- 
er [in 1986] at the Commonwealth Institute 
shifted the terrain of debate to focus on issues 
of aesthetics, readings, and theoretically in- 
formed critique. The event was interesting in 
terms of bringing First World filmmakers and 
critics into a much closer dialogue with the 
questions raised by black and Third World 
film texts. In any event, it rendered visible the 
volume of issues that arise from film practices 
(such as those of the black independents in 
Britain) that are shaped and informed by a 
critical engagement both with Third World 
traditions of cultural struggle and the theo- 
retical discourses that have characterized 
Euro-American debates on film. The Edin- 
burgh Third Cinema conference demonstrated 
that such conditions of existence, producing 
new forms of work at the interface of different 
traditions, are by no means unique to the situa- 
tion here in Britain. They pertain to the work of 
a number of hitherto isolated filmmakers, activ- 
ists, and critics operating in a diversity of geo- 
graphical, institutional, and professional loca- 
tions. The ambiguities of the concept of a Third 
Cinema provided enough common ground to 
highlight many areas of overlapping concerns 
and preoccupations. The convergences suggest a 
renewal of passion for debate on the politics of 
film and cinema, something worth taking note 
of in the face of the apparent exhaustion, in 
Britain, of much of the once-innovative film 
theory of the seventies. And the ambiguities cut 
both ways as the conference exposed a spread of 
unresolved tensions that surfaced both in the 



encounter between First and Third Worlds, and 
within the Third World itself. 

Teshome Gabriel's project of describing and 
theorizing "those essential qualities Third 
World films possess rather than those they may 
seem to lack" [Gabriel, "Towards a Critical 
Theory of Third World Films," Third World 
Affairs, London, 1985] has been attacked by 
Latin American film specialist Julianne Burton 
as "essentialist." Burton has argued that an un- 
derlying "Third Worldism" imposes a fictive 
unity and homogeneity that ignores the diversity 
of conditions of production and reception of 
Third World film texts [Burton, "Marginal Cine- 
mas and Mainstream Critical Theory," Screen, 
Vol. 26, No. 3/4, May- August 1985]. The terms 
of their dispute/debate turn on the question of 
the adequacy of Euro-American critical theory 
for the analysis of Third Cinema. While Gabriel 
has registered the issue of its latent Euro-eth- 
nocentrism, Burton defends the role of the "non- 
native" critic in terms of encouraging a wider 
interest in Third World texts in the First World. 
However, in the absence of the unfortunately 
unavailable Gabriel, her Edinburgh presentation 
failed to confront the problem of the quasi- 
imperial division of labor (the Third World pro- 
duces films, the First World produces the crit- 
icism and theory to "make sense" of them). Nor 
was that duality resolved by Burton's descrip- 
tion of her own position as "neither" able to 
identify with her native U.S. culture "nor" to 
regard herself as a member of another. 

This "neither/nor"-ism is inherently problem- 
atic, as it displaces the possibility of a self- 
reflexive approach to the critique of Euro- 
centrism by invoking an image of the "free- 
floating" intellectual able to transcend boun- 
daries (imaginary, symbolic, or real?) of ethnic/ 
national difference at will. One way out of this 
all too familiar Third/First World dilemma, if it 
can be simplified in terms of the metaphor of 
"race," was put forward at the BFI's Summer 
School on Echoes of Empire last year. As Jim 
Pines argued, "the analysis of racism and racial 
representation has to take on board the 'fact of 
whiteness'.... There needs to be a radical shift 
away from concentrating on the 'victims,' i.e. 
the black (Third World) subject as racial/ 
analytical problematic, and more attention di- 
rected at the dominant and highly problematic 
'white' subject" ["Black Film Making," The 
Media Education Journal, No. 2, 1986]. As it 
stands, Burton's practical criticism does not 
theorize "whiteness" or "First Worldness" as 
conditions of its own enunciation, thus inad- 
vertently confirming Gabriel's point that "the 
barrier to dialogue is. ..the terms of dialogue 
itself ["Colonialism and 'Law and Order' Criti- 
cism," Screen, no. 3/4, 1986]. 

This should not however obscure the fact that 
there are issues which need clarification in 
Gabriel's work. Certainly the "speculative" 
(rather than empirical) quality of his theoriza- 
tion of a Third Cinema aesthetic must be seen as 
a constructive response to the marginalization of 



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Third World cinema (and African cinema in 
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Med Hondo constructs history as 
theater in his film West Indies. 

Courtesy Mypheduh Films 



World." However, while her innovative idea of 
an "Inappropriate Other" suggested a strategy 
for a nonauthoritative representation of differ- 
ence, it also seemed to echo aspects of a tran- 
scendental "neither/nor"-ism. Homi Bhabha's 
presentation offered rich possibilities opened up 
by a rereading of Fanon's theories of cultural 
struggle in the light of Lacanian psychoanalysis. 
Bhabha's distinction between "cultural diver- 
sity," as a strategy of colonial or post-colonial 
governability, and "cultural differences," which 
split the imaginary unity of the subject to pro- 
duce new forms of knowledge engendered by 
the frictions and uncertainties of difference it- 
self, suggest new ways of thinking the terms of 
contemporary cultural struggles. In particular, 
his idea that the key index of a qualitative 
transformation in cultural struggle is marked by 
the intensification of the indeterminacy of signs 
and meanings seems highly relevant to the cul- 
tural politics of "ethnicity" in Britain [see 
Bhabha's introduction, "Remembering Fanon," 
in reprint of Black Skin, White Masks, London: 
Pluto Press, 1986]. 

In a different way Afro-American scholar 
Clyde Taylor also invited a critical rethink of 
the very foundations of film criticism. His paper 
problematized the category of "aesthetics," hom- 
ing in on the inherent "race-ism" of Western 
discourses on "beauty" that debar the black sub- 
ject, de facto and de jure, from access to its aes- 
thetic ideals. His arguments drew substantively 
on the recent work of Sylvia Wynter which 
argues that the crisis of the post-Enlightenment 
episteme demands a "re-writing of knowledge," 
that is, a disarticulation of the orders of power 
and knowledge inscribed in Western modernity 
[see Wynter, "The Ceremony Must Be Found: 
After Humanism," Boundary 2, 1985, and her 
outline of cultural politics in CLR James: His 
Life and Works, London: Allison and Busby, 
1986]. However, Taylor's radical "bracketting" 
of aesthetics was misconstrued as an argument 
for "cultural nationalism." Rather than stimula- 
ting the formulation of fresh criteria for the 
evaluation of cultural/art practices, his paper 
elicited anxieties and divisions among partici- 
pants, notably between adherents of post-struc- 
turalist approaches and those who opposed 
them. To be able to explore such differences so 
as to learn from them it would be necessary to 
reinsert the issue of the uneven development 
that makes the Third World such a "messy" 
space of heterogeneity. We need to be able to 
discuss (non-divisively) the variousness of dif- 
ferent national/cultural traditions, and especially 
with regard to film cultures, the marked differ- 
ences between French, Spanish, and English- 
speaking zones. For one reason or another (the 
paucity of Latin A.merican filmmakers and crit- 
ics present, for instance) this was something that 
didn't happen at Edinburgh. 




The expression of such differences should not 
really be that surprising given that the Third 
World (both territory and map) so often func- 
tions as a symbol of Chaos that will mirror the 
First World's image of itself as Order. How- 
ever, the idea of a Third Cinema has another 
dimension in that it also includes the concept of 
a diaspora. For obvious historical reasons, this 
notion seems to have more of an appeal for Afro- 
American and Afro-Caribbean filmmakers as a 
way of exploring common differences. Here 
there are interesting overlaps around issues of 
audience and the critique of dominant forms of 
representation. Characterising Third Cinema as 
a battle zone between the "toy soldiers" of 
cultural colonialism — that is, the alienating 
spectacle of Hollywood — and embryonic alterna- 
tives that seek to break with its codes and 
conventions, Haile Gerima reinstated a pas- 
sionate case for an "oppositional" cinema ur- 
gently needed to counteract the demoralizing 
effects of the dominant movie industry among 
black audiences from Lagos to Los Angeles. 
Gerima 's position points towards a reengage- 
ment with the question of how dominant ideolo- 
gies dominate. His concern with their effects on 
the black and Third World spectator raises a 
question about the adequacy of the Althusserian- 
inspired study of ideology that shaped debate in 
the seventies. Also addressing dominant media, 
Ayoka Chenzira argued that the rhetoric of 
"positive versus negative" images (which has 
played a large part in black critiques of media 
stereotypes in Britain too) is ultimately more dis- 
enabling than enabling for black filmmaking. 
Television programs like The Cosby Show, 
produced in response to the open market for 
"positive" images, have only led to a new 
system of stereotypes, glossing over much 
"unfinished business" behind the so-called "neg- 
ative" image. The U.S. filmmaker's new docu- 
mentary on child abuse. Silent Sounds Scream- 
ing, signals a determination to work through 
complex issues unthinkable within the static 



polarization of "positive and negative." 
The critique of media stereotypes has informed 
the counter-practices of the black independents 
in Britain, but what is significant now is the 
plurality of aesthetic and political options that 
characterize their practices. On the one hand, 
members of the Asian workshop Re-Take ar- 
gued for a realist aesthetic as a way of engaging 
the community as their target audience — a pos- 
ition embodied in Sanctuary Challenge, their 
new documentary film about struggles against 
deportation in the context of British immi- 
gration law. However, it was argued that the 
"community" does not exist as a homogeneous 
body politic, but harbours many, often antagon- 
istic, positions and opinions: as such there is no 
one "reality" that awaits representation but a 
number of competing "versions" that struggle 
for predominance. Taking such a position, 
Sankofa, for example, seek to employ experi- 
mental strategies as a way of intervening in 
collective debates. Their earlier film Territories 
anchors itself within the "documentary" format 
only to ambush the assumption of any one 
authoritative voice or "look," thus opening up a 
number of points of view on an event as com- 
plex as Notting Hill Carnival. And from another 
context, Med Hondo's epic West Indies (made 
in 1979 but hitherto unscreened here) also states 
the case for an experimental approach to the 
film apparatus. Staging the stories of domina- 
tion and resistance, exploitation and migration 
that have shaped the Caribbean on a recon- 
structed slave ship in a deserted warehouse, it 
deploys this "Brechtian" device to draw in other 
theatrical elements from the genre of the musi- 
cal and disrupt the idea of history as narrative 
continuity. Its carnivalesque quality sets up a 
dialogic discourse that questions our "know- 
ledge" of past and present and invites the specta- 
tor into an active reading of the text. 

In the specific context of the black indepen- 
dents in Britain, the range of choices— docu- 
mentary, narrative, experimental — available to- 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 




day must be situated historically. It marks a 
shift from the almost exclusive commitment to 
realism (as a mode of counter-representation 
against the effects of the dominant media) that 
characterized the practices of an earlier gener- 
ation of independent practitioners such as 
Horace Ove. But the current debate has gone 
beyond the simple alternatives of realism and 
anti-realism. 

Significantly, it is around the issue of audi- 
ences and "community" that a new kind of 
"third option" has emerged, most clearly argued 
for at Edinburgh by H.O. Nazareth. Rejecting 
the labels of both "multi-culturalism" and "anti- 
racism," he opposed the assumption that black 
film practice should devote itself to the expres- 
sion of "ethnic protest." There is a valid point 
here, but his related argument for rejecting the 
"community" as reference point or addressee of 
black film discourse caused much concern, as it 
seemed to imply an unaccountable auteurism as 
the only alternative. Illustrating his argument 
with his experience of adverse criticism while 
working on a film on domestic violence within 
the Asian community, Nazareth argued that the 
"community" functions as a censor. This posi- 
tion seems a difficult one to maintain. It would 
be hard to construe the Bengali community's vo- 
cal displeasure with Farrukh Dhondy's recent 
BBC TV drama. King of the Ghetto, for 



In his epic tale 
West Indies, Med 
Hondo stages the 
history of Carib- 
bean colonial 
domination, set 
on a reconstruct- 
ed slave ship 
docked in a 
deserted 
warehouse. 

Courtesy Mypheduh Films 



instance, as a form of censorship. 

Although it is the case (and perhaps it 
shouldn't be) that black filmmakers are often 
held to ideological ransom by the question, 
"Who do you make your films for?," the space 
of community as a terrain of contested political 
opinions cannot be simply ignored or rejected 
tout court. Ceddo, for instance, place a great 
deal of emphasis (as does their new film, Street 
Warriors) on the community as the addressee of 
their practice. Moreover. Haile Gerima's trian- 
gular model for the social/cultural interaction of 
filmmaker/storyteller, activist/critic, and audi- 
ence/community underlines the issues of modes 
of address, networks of exhibition, and forms of 
criticism that an "oppositional" black film prac- 
tice must take on board. The new "neo-liberal" 
option, which embraces criteria of "profession- 
alism" at the center of its practice, needs to be 
located in the contradictory influence of Chan- 
nel Four as the principal funder of "indepen- 
dent" work. Either way, precisely because of 
this relationship, the fortunes of this new tenden- 
cy will be one to watch. 

In the midst of this questioning of "commun- 
ity," Sankofa's first feature production. The Pas- 
sion of Remembrance, is especially interesting 
with its underlying theme of diversities and dif- 
ferences within black communities. As it inter- 
sperses between a narrative account of black 



experiences in eighties Britain a dialogue on the 
past and future of political protest, the film 
weaves a rich texture of questions about the role 
of memory in shaping our sense of identity. In 
this way it explores features of contemporary 
politics in Britain which escape simple explan- 
ations based on "race" alone, insisting on the 
multiple elements of race, class, gender, and 
sexuality that must figure in the consciousness 
of the political present. Beyond its intrinsic in- 
terest, the film is also important as a critical 
intervention that places issues of gender in the 
foreground, which may be seen as an effect of 
the way that black feminisms have reshaped the 
terrain of debate in the sphere of cultural pol- 
itics. This may in turn be seen as analogous to 
the creative effects of the proliferation of wri- 
ting by black women on feminist politics. Cer- 
tainly such a priority of gender is not "new," as 
earlier independent films such as Menelik Sha- 
bazz's Burning an Illusion demonstrate. But 
what adds an important dimension today is the 
parallel interest in racial/sexual politics signi- 
fied by the recent mainstream success of films 
such as My Beautiful Laundrette. Given the 
peculiarities of Spielberg's rendition of Alice 
Walker's The Color Purple, the debates around 
these commercial films may stimulate a wider 
reception and a wider audience for the more 
challenging work coming from the independent 
sector. In this respect it would be worth taking 
note of the crossover style of Spike Lee's prob- 
lematic "comedy" of sexual (or sexist?) man- 
ners, She's Gotta Have It, a curious film that 
implicitly raises the question of how to distin- 
guish mainstream/independent cinemas. 

As a surface of emergence the Third Cinema 
conference raised more questions than it could 
answer. At the level of debates on aesthetics it 
registered the limitations of populist rhetoric 
and exposed new directions for theory and crit- 
ique. Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiongo's sug- 
gestion that the struggles of the Third World 
resonate in the popular memory and imagination 
of all social groups and peoples contesting op- 
pression points to the possibilities of a wider, de- 
marginalized, audience for a Third Cinema. At 
the level of film practice, the concept may even 
be relevant for First World practitioners whose 
modernist strategies have been called into ques- 
tion by both post-modernism and neo-conser- 
vatism. In both respects the event has important 
implications for institutions with an interest in 
revitalizing an active, independent film culture. 
The fact its debates were sponsored by the Brit- 
ish Film Institute — whereas two or three years 
ago they would have taken place in the seminars 
and screenings organised by the Black Audio 
Film Collective, for instance — suggests a pro- 
cess of demarginalization which will hopefully 
continue into higher education. 

Kobena Mercer works at the Centre for Carib- 
bean Studies at Goldsmith' s College, London. 

The 41st Annual Edinburgh International Film 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



Festival will take place on Aug. 8-23, 1987. 
Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm; 112" and 314" video OK 
for preview. Prefers " new and rare works ." Cate- 
gories: features, shorts, documentaries. Non- 
competitive; all films receive Certificate of Par- 
ticipation. Films must have been completed 
after Aug. 1985. Deadlines: May 11 films, entry 
forms; June 12 documentation, stills. Entry fee: 
£10. Fest. does not pay shipping. Contact: Jim 
Hickey, director, Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Rd., 
Edinburgh EH3 9B2, Scotland; tel. 031-228- 
2688; telex 72165. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser. List- 
ings do not constitute an endorse- 
ment & since some details change 
faster than we do, we recommend 
that you contact the festival for 
further information before sending 
prints or tapes. If your experience 
differs from our account, please let 
us know so we can improve our 
reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

American Medical Writers Assn 11th Video & 
Film Festival, Nov. 4-7, Chicago, IL. Feature films 
produced for the medical & allied health sciences in 
the categories of professional education, patient edu- 
cation, public info & general (public relations, pro- 
motion, docs). 1st & 2nd place & merit awards & 
"best of festival" award granted. Winning films 
shown at AMWA 47th Annual Conference at 
Drake Hotel. Entry fees: $70 members, $85 non- 
members. Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Incl. supplemen- 
tary materials: brochures, guidebooks, tests, etc. 
Deadline: April 30. Contact Edith Stem, AMWA 
Video & Film Festival Chair, Continuing Ed., 
Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Medicine, 720 Rut- 
land Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205; (301) 955-6908. 

Columbus International Video Festival, May 19- 
22, Columbus, OH. The 2nd annual edition of this 
Ohio State Univ. -sponsored fest will present a var- 
ied show of new video works at the Silver Image 
Gallery in Columbus. Cats incl. video art (images, 
structural, animated), doc, educational, narrative & 
other. Last year's fest incl. winning entries by Irit 
Batsiy, Anne Seidman & Appalshop & was judged 
by Nancy Robinson, asst. curator of video at Wex- 
ner Center for the Arts & ind. videographer Linda 
Thomburgh. Entry fees: $10-20 depending on 
length; cash prizes $50-75. Formats: 1/2" & 3/4". 
Deadline: May 1. Contact Susan Halpern, Dept. of 
Art, Ohio State Univ., 146 Hopkins Hall, Colum- 
bus, OH 43210; (614) 292-671 1 . 

Dore Schary Awards, June, New York, NY. Com- 
petition for student-produced films & videos on 
human relations themes: "people & their experi- 
ences," "search for ethnicity," "coming together in 
understanding." Student/faculty advisor letter must 



accompany entries. Judges incl. Bayard Rustin, 
Merv Adelson, Jack Valenti, David Rothenberg, Jac- 
queline Grennen-Wexler, Arthur Hiller & Bonnie 
Franklin. 1st prizes of $1000 & 2nd prizes of $500 
last year went to Dark Exodus, by Iverson White, 
The New Puritans: The Sikhs of Yuha City, by 
Tenzing Sonam & Ritu Sarin, Debonair Dancers, by 
Allison Nigh-Strelich & Los Ninos Thinking about 
Others, by Francisco Menendez & Charles Lake. 
Winners flown to NY for awards ceremony, which 
is part of the Anti-Defamation League Nat'l Com- 
mission meeting. Formats: 16mm & 3/4". Deadline: 
May 1. Contact Steve Brody/Zirel Handler, Dore 
Schary Awards, TV Radio Film Dept., Anti-Defam- 
ation League of B'nai B'rith, 823 UN Plaza, New 
York, NY 10017; (212)490-2525. 

Hawaii International Film Festival, Nov. 29- 
Dec. 6, Honolulu, HI. The ongoing theme of this 
noncommercial, noncompetitive fest is "When 
Strangers Meet," encouraging audiences to learn 
about other cultures through cinema. Selected films 
reflect a "humanistic perspective" of the lives & in- 
tercultural relationships between people of the US, 
Asia & the Pacific. Last year over 50,000 people 
attended the free screenings & seminars; 42 fea- 
tures, 73 docs & 12 short films shown. In 1986 
fest's only award, the East West Center Award for the 
entry best promoting the festival's theme of inter- 
cultural understanding went to Thai director Euthania 
Mukdasnit's feature Butterflies Are Free & special 
award was given to The Time to Live & the Time to 
Die, by Taiwan director Hon Xiaoxian. Judges incl. 
Susan Sontag, Sashi Kapoor, Bill Bennett, Nei Kawa- 
rabata & Lino Brocka, who was also the keynote 
speaker. Main focus of '86 was comedy, promoting an 
understanding of the relationship between culture & 
humor & 20 comedies from 6 countries were pre- 
sented, along w/ retrospective of Harry Shearer's 
comedies. Films screened incl. The New Morning of 
Billy the Kid, by Naoto Yamakawa; Joshua Then & 
Now, by Ted Kotcheff; Malcolm, by Nadia Tass & 
She's Gotta Have It, by Spike Lee. Other focuses were 
Australian cinema, featuring Burke & Wills, by 
Graeme Clifford & Pacific Island films, w/ 19 films 
covering a range of issues affecting the Pacific, incl. 
nuclear testing, Maori rebellion, apartheid & New 
Zealand sports & influence of Western culture in the 
Pacific. Several Asian American films participated, 
including Jazz Is My Native Language, by Renee Cho; 
Made in China, by Lisa Hsia; Living on Tokyo Time, 
by Steven Okazaki, which premiered at the festival & 
Beacon Hill Boys, by Dean Hayasaka, Ken Mochi- 
zuki & William Blauvelt. The growing fest at- 
tracts an increasing amount of int'l press & critical 
coverage & over 150 filmmakers & industry profes- 
sionals are expected to participate this year. Fea- 
tured programming for '87 fest incl. retrospective 
of films from Korea & program on Orson Welles' 
influence on Asian cinema. Following the fest's run 
on Oahu, it travels to Kauai, Maui, Lanai & Molo- 
ka. 1/2", Beta, 3/4" & 16mm accepted for preview; 
final format 16mm or 3/4". No entry fee. Deadline: 
June 1. Contact Jeanette Paulson, coordinator, 
HIFF, East West Center, 1777 East-West Rd. 
Honolulu, HI 96848; (808) 944-7666. 

Jewish Film Festival: Independent Filmmakers 
Looking at Ourselves, Aug., San Francisco, CA. 
The Jewish subject films chosen for this noncom- 
petitive festival are programmed in the hope that 



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APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



they will break old stereotypes of the Jewish media 
image. Last year's films drew audiences of 10,000 
through 6 days in San Francisco & 4 days in Berke- 
ley. About half of the films are by US indepen- 
dents. Fest pays individ. negotiated rental fees. '86 
fest premiered Partisans of Vilna, by Josh Wiletsky 
& Aviva Kempner & also featured Free Voice of 
Labor, by Steve Fischler & Joel Sucher. For the last 
few years, organizers have mounted national tours 
of participating films & hope to have NY location 
in '87. No entry fee. Cats: new works, history/ 
culture/identity. Deadline: May 1. Contact Deborah 
Kaufman/Janis Plotkin, Jewish Film Festival, 2600 
10th St., Berkeley, CA 94710; (415) 499-6400. 

New Jersey Video & Film Festival & Conference, 
June 19, Newark, NJ. Sponsored by Newark Media- 
Works, a nonprofit media arts production & train- 
ing center, this 4th annual festival highlights ind. 
films & videos related to NJ, produced by a NJ pro- 
ducer, shot in the state, or on a NJ subject. Fest 
presented in conjunction w/ conference on May 15 
at the Newark Marriott Hotel. This year's theme is 
"Media Makers: Visions & Realities," featuring 
panels on distribution, video art & funding w/ em- 
phasis on obtaining state monies. Last year's jury 
screened over 150 entries & the winning films & 
videos were presented awards before an audience of 
250. Among winners were The Locust, by Paul B. 
Holzman, festival best; The Fall of the House of Usher 
by John Schnall, The Liberating Man, by Emily 
Hubley & Rock V Roll Pet Store by Michael Posch, 
all taking 1st place in art/ experimental cat. 1987 
judges incl. Bonnie Friedman, ind. producer; Julie 
Gustafson, Global Village; Shalom Gorewitz, video 
artist; Black Maria Film Festival director John 
Columbus; Lawrence Londino, NYU Dept. of Film & 
TV; Kathleen Roe, WNET/ Newark; Bettie Davie, ind. 
producer; Thomas Guy, Gateway Cable; Lynn Miller, 
Rutgers Univ. Cats: doc. short doc. art experimental/ 
animation, feature/fiction/drama, dramatic short, news, 
student, music video, corporate promo, public access. 
Prizes incl. equipment, edit time, tapes & cash. 
Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: May 30. Contact: 
Dana Kenney/Tami Gold, Newark MediaWorks, Box 
1716, Newark, NJ 07101; (201)690-5474. 

Philadelphia International Film & Video Festi- 
val/Philafilm, July 22-26, Philadelphia, PA. The 
10th anniv. theme of Philafilm is "Filmmaking & 
Democracy: A History of Perspectives," tied to the 
Constitution's bicentennial celebration. Organizers 
hope to attract ind. films that reflect the building 
of American ideals by challenging & critically an- 
alyzing the nat'l & int'l impact of those ideals. 
Last year's fest incl. 45 entries, w/ Best Film 
award going to Samuel Lount, by Elvira Lount & 
Laurence Keane. Other awards went to Memories of 
Monet, by Meredith Martindale & Toby Molenaar. 
best doc; Destination: Nicaragua, by Barbara Trent 
& David Kasper, best video documentary; Grafitti, 
by Diana Costello & Matthew Patrick, best cinema- 
tography; Annie & Melvin, by Douglas Varchol, best 
student film. Other awards went to Kid Gloves, by 
Richard Margoles, Bill Dominguez & Vince DiPersio 
& The Flapper Story, by Lauren Lazin. Judges last year 
were Michelle Casale, Philip Verrechia & Harold 
Yates, all ind. producers in PA. Fest format also incl. 
directors' seminars & workshops, this year featuring 
aninvestors' seminar for low-budget ind. films. Cash 
prizes: $100 for top entries, $75 for 2nd place awards. 



All entrants receive certificate. Steep entry fees, from 
$20/student films to $100/feature entries. Last year's 
audience was disappointingly low, causing particu- 
lar consternation to some makers who travelled a 
distance to participate. Director Larry Smallwood 
hopes that the addition of performance & art exhibit 
components coupled w/ bicentennial celebration 
wili boost this year's attendance. Sponsored by 
Int'l Assoc, of Motion Picture & TV Producers. 
Cats: feature, doc, animation, experimental, drama/ 
short. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, 3/4". Dead - 
line: May 15. Contact: Larry Smallwood, festival 
director, 121 N. Broad St. 6th fl, Philadelphia, PA 
19107; (215) 977-2831. 

PSA-VMPD American International Film & Vid- 
eo Festival, Aug. 3-8, Long Beach, CA. Showcase 
for work of amateur video & filmmakers, now in 
58th year & advertised as "the world's oldest mo- 
tion picture competition." Entries must be under 30 
minutes & are accepted in cats of commercial, non- 
commercial, student, teenage & video. Winning en- 
tries shown at the annual Photographic Society of 
America convention; nonprofit org. boasts 18,000 
members. Prizes of trophies, plaques & certificates 
in additional categories of travel, humor, editing, 
experimental, doc, best story. Entry fees: $12 mem- 
bers, $17 nonmembers, $10 teenage. Deadline: May 
15. Contact Tim W. Kinnally, FSAC Chairman. Amer- 
ican International Film & Video Festival, 6618 Park- 
side Dr., Tinley Park, IL 60477; (312) 532-2540. 

Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, Aug. 9-15, Auro- 
ra, NY. The theme of the 33rd annual wk. of day- 
long sessions of screenings & intensive debate on 
the nature of filmmaking which characterize this 
seminar/workshop/retreat is "media criticism." Sem- 
inar will focus on recently completed docs & fea- 
tures that challenge the dominant media's coverage 
of social issues as well as alternative strategies for 
activating audiences. The programming for this 
year, as in the past, will feature expressions of 
third world cultures which have been historically 
& currently excluded from western media. Partici- 
pants have variously termed the sessions as "inci- 
sive," "provocative" & "candid." Last year's 
theme, representations of diverse cultural perspec- 
tives in film & video, was the context for the 
screening of such works as Twenty Years Later, by 
Eduardo Coutinho; Routine Pleasures, by Jean- 
Pierre Gorin; The Aids Show, by Peter Adair & 
Robert Epstein & Joan Logue's videos. Contact this 
year's programmer before submitting films & 
tapes: Richard Herskowitz, Cornell Cinema, 525 
Willard Straight Hall, Ithaca, NY 14583; (607) 
255-3522. Deadline for completion of selections: 
June 1. For all other information contact seminar 
coordinator Esme Dick, International Film Semi- 
nars, 44 W. 56 St., 3rd fl.. New York, NY 10019; 
(212)582-0273. 

San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film 
Festival. June 19-28, San Francisco, CA. The old- 
est & largest festival celebrating films & videos by 
& about lesbians & gay men. this fest enters 11th 
year w/ expanding audience of over 15,000. Each 
year it kicks off San Francisco's Lesbian/Gay Free- 
dom Celebration. Sponsored by nonprofit lesbian & 
gay media arts org. Frameline, the fest screened over 
70 films & videos last year, incl. submitted & 
invited works & also featured retrospective & sec- 



tion showcasing recent discoveries of archival 
films. Awards presented in 6 cats: feature, short, 
video, doc, super 8 & Audience Prize for best in 
festival. 1986 saw the Dutch film Pervola, Tracks 
in the Snow, by Orlow Seunke, win the Audience 
Prize, while The Aids Show, by Robert Epstein & 
Peter Adair, captured award for best doc. 1987 venues 
will be Castro Theatre. Roxie Cinema & Video Free 
America. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 3/4" & 
1/2". Deadline: April 15. Contact Michael Lumpkin, 
Frameline, Box 14792, San Francisco, CA 94114; 
(415)861-5245. 

Slice of Life Showcase, July 10-12, State College, 
PA. Seeks experimental or doc works depicting 
"the unique performances of everyday life — those 
moments of truth & beauty that would otherwise 
go unrecognized." Sponsored by Documentary Re- 
source Center, fest also hosts "meet the artists" 
reception & conference, which has in the past incl. 
reps from NEA. Center for Southern Folklore & 
EFLA. Last year winning works were Eugene's 
Valet, by Jane Chapline; Vidalia McCloud: A 
Family Story, by Theresa Mack; Veteran's Day, by 
P.J. O'Connell; Eula by Sharon Zurek & Lucinda 
Guard & Halloween '85, by George Hornbein & 
Ken Thigpen. Fest pays travel stipend & will accom- 
modate filmmakers in area homes. All entrants 
receive cash awards of approx. $250. Entry fee: $10. 
Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: May 1. Contact 
Mike Bagwell/George Hornbein, Slice of Life Show- 
case, 740 Elmwood St, State College, PA 16801; 
(814)234-7886. 

Works by Women, Oct., New York, NY. Seeks to 
promote accomplishments of women directors in 
ind. film & video. Now in 1 1th year, noncom- 
petitive fest provided a showcase last year for the 
premiere of Dust, by Marion Hansel, as well as Women 
of Summer, by Suzanne Baumann & Dialectics of 
Romance, by Anne-Sargent Wooster. Judges incl. 
Annette Insdorf, assoc. prof of film at Yale & 
Columbia & Barbara London, asst. curator for video in 
MoMA's Film Dept.. who also presented program of 
"Video Pioneers: Women in Independent Video." Out 
of 300 submissions, judges selected 12 videos, 1 
feature, 2 docs & 1 animated short. No entry fee. Fest 
pays return shipping & negotiated rental on each film 
or video shown. Formats: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: April 
30. Contact Christina Bickford, Media Services, 
Barnard College Library, B'way at 117th S., New 
York. NY 10027: (212) 280-2418. 



FOREIGN 

Locarno International Film Festival, Aug. 6-16, 
Locarno, Switzerland. This year marks the 40th anni- 
versary of this fest, whose stated purpose is "to enable 
filmmakers from all over the world to examine & 
compare — in a spirit of mutual understanding — the 
most recent developments in the quest for new 
methods of cinematographic expression." Sections 
incl. int'l competition for fiction films, section 
covering cinematic history & special section for full- 
length features produced for TV. Films must be a 
Swiss premiere, completed in the 12 months prior to 
fest, over 60 mins & subtitled in French. Selection 
preference isgiven to world premieres or films which 
have not been entered in other major Euro fests. Top 
prizes incl. Golden Leopard: 10,000 Swiss fiances, for 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



best film; Silver Leopard: 5000 francs, for best 1st or 
2nd film by a new director & Bronze Leopard: 3000 
francs, to the most exceptional director, actor, or 
actress. Variety has termed Locarno "the last refuge of 
small inexpensive pictures which would be lost com- 
pletely in other circumstances." All leading Swiss film 
distribs & exhibitors, numbering about 150, attended 
last year's fest, as well as reps from such major Euro- 
pean fests as Cannes, Hof, Berlin & Mannheim. US 
entries incl. Down by Law, by Jim Jarmusch, which 
broke attendance records. Sleepwalk, by Sara Driver & 
She's Gotta Have It, by Spike Lee. Fest doesn't pay 
shipping or subtitling costs. Formats: 16mm & 35mm. 
No entry fee. Deadline: May 31 for entry forms, June 
15 for prints for selection. Contact Locarno Inter- 
national Film Festival, Box 6600, Locarno, 
Switzerland. 

Odense International Film Festival, Aug. 1-7, 
Odense, Denmark. 7th biennial fest programmed for 
"unusual films w/ an original & imaginative sense 
of creative delight" — all in the spirit of master 
fairytale writer & Odense native Hans Christian 
Anderson. Entries should be fairy tales, films of 
fantasy, or experimental-imaginative work, live or 
animated, no longer than 60 mins, completed after 
'83. Condition for entry is that the film may be 
shown on Danish TV w/ "normal fee" paid. 8 
prizes awarded by int'l jury, which this year will 
consist of James Broughton, US; Bert Hanstra, Hol- 
land; Svend Hansen, Denmark; Borge Ring, Holland 
& Bente Hansen, Denmark, Cash prizes: from 
$2,100-55,000 awarded in cats of best film, most 
imaginative film & most surprising film. In addi- 
tion, each judge awards his/her personal prize (statu- 
ette) & children's jury awards 3 prizes. In 1985, w/ 
over 140 filmmakers attending & 68 films screened 
out of 158 entries from 29 countries, 2 US films won 



prizes: Why'd the Beetle Cross the Road?, by Jan E. 
Skrentny (best film) & Hello, by Faith Hubley (judge's 
prize). Fest also features large film wrkshp for 
children & retrospective series. Return shipping paid 
for selected entries. Work may be preselected on 1/2" 
or 3/4"; fest format 16mm or 35mm. Deadline: May 
15. Appl. forms available at FIVF, or contact Jorgen 
Roos/Astrid Henning-Jensen, 7th International Odense 
Film Festival, Vindegade 18, DK-5000, Odense C, 
Denmark; tel: 459131372 x4294. 

TurinInternational YouthFilmFestival.OcL 1 6-25, 
Torino, Italy. US ind. filmmakers can find a haven at 
this northern Italian festival as it enters its 5th year w/ 
a history of showcasing innovative US work before 
audiences of over 50,000. Competitive feature & short 
film sections. Its Open Space section (in which 
entrants must be under 30 yrs old) features 
noncompetitive shorts, video & super 8 categories in 
& out of competition. Feature films in competition vie 
for three awards: best film, jury award & best 
actor/actress. Feature prize is City of Turin Award 
plaque; $3000 goes to best short film, $2000 to best 
video & $1500 to winning super 8 film. Fest provides 
round trip airfare, hotel & meals for all filmmakers in 
the feature section; all other filmmakers receive 
hospitality. Round trip shipping charges also covered. 
This year's theme: films from 1st time filmmakers/ 
films dedicated to young people, which, while not 
restrictive, encourages the submission of works by 
new directors. Each film has press conference; Euro. 
press reps & Italian producers & distribs very much in 
attendance. A retrospective of Soviet independent 
cinema will highlight this year's festival. Last year, 
retrospective showcased US ind. cinema of the '60s; 
an anthology of films from the Women in Film Festi- 
val was also on the program. Winning US entries in 
1986 were Grafitti, by Diana Costello & Matthew 



Patrick (Jury Award) & Triangle Below Canal, by 
Harry Killas (best short); other US feature entries incl. 
Static, by Mark Romanek; Rate It X, by Paula de 
Koenigsburg, Lucy Winer & Claudette Charbonneau; 
Down by Law, by Jim Jarmusch & Jimi Plays 
Monterey, by D.A. Pennebaker. US shorts in compe- 
tition, among others, were Tom Goes to the Bar, by 
Dean Parisot; One Small Step, by J. Mira Kopell; 
Ringers, by Tony Cookson & Night Train, by Phillipe 
Browning. Last year's judges in feature section were 
Robert Kramer, Jean Rouch, Sogo Ishii, Amos Bow & 
Guiseppe Bertolucci. Short film judges were Robert 
Aaronson, Otto Grokenberger & Lyz Reinisch. For- 
mats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 1/2", 3/4". Entry fee: 
$10 features, $5 shorts (under 60 minutes). Deadline: 
July 10, enter early. Guido Chiesa, fest's NY rep. will 
pre-select. Submit 1/2" or 3/4" tapes only. Contact 
Guido Chiesa, c/o FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th fl.. New 
York, NY 10012; (212) 529-6799. 

Wellington Film Festival, July, Wellington, New 
Zealand. Noncompetitive 16th edition run in conjunc- 
tion w/ 19th Auckland Film Festival & sponsored by 
New Zealand Federation of Film Societies & 
Wellington Film Society. Both fests generally feature 
the same program & seek feature & short films which 
"contribute to a knowledge of new styles & trends in 
filmmaking." Films must have been shown at fests 
outside New Zealand & be NZ premieres. Certificates 
of participation awarded all invited films. Last year's 
Wellington & Auckland festivals showed 50 features 
apiece before audiences of almost 100,000. Return 
shipping paid. Formats: 16mm, 35mm (preferred); 
70mm. 1/2" & 3/4" accepted for preview. Deadline: 
April 30. Contact Bill Gosden, director, Wellington 
Film Festival, Box 9544, Courtenay Place, 
Wellington, New Zealand; tel: 850-162. 



INDEPENDENT BOOKSHELF 



Get The Money and Shoot 
Jackson, $20.00 

How to obtain government, corporate, and 
foundation grants; how to write a proposal; 
budgets; sample film from start to finish; other 
useful publications. 

Independent Feature Film 

Production 

Goodell, $8.95 

Legal structures and financing, the pre- 
production package, the production process, 
post-production, distribution and marketing, 
samples of limited partnership agreements 
and budgets. 

AIVF Guide to International Film & 
Video Festivals 
Aaronson, $15.00 

Compilation of two years of festival columns 

published in The Independent. 

Info on over 300 festivals in the U.S. and 

abroad: awards, contacts, fees, previous 

participants. 



Before You Shoot 
Garvey, $10.00 

Manual for the production side of 
filmmaking — from the idea stage to 
distribution. 

The Independent Film and 
Videomakers Guide 
Wiese, $14.95 

Advice on film and video financing; investor 
presentations; limited partnerships; market 
research, distribution; list of buyers of non- 
theatrical films; pay TV, foreign TV and 
home video, contacts for music videos. 

Home Video: Producing for the 
Home Market 
Wiese, $16.95 

Advice on development and distribution of 
original home video programs, new 
marketing opportunities for independent 
producers, and info on presentations, bugeting, 
and contracts. 



Film and Video Budgets 
Wiese, $14.95 

How to prepare budgets for documentaries, 
commercials, shorts, low budget features, pay 
TV segments, and music videos. Practical 
advice on budgeting, negotiations, and money- 
saving tips; sample budgets. 



Sponsorships: A Guide for Video 
and Filmmakers 
Goldman/Green, $6.00 

How to find, choose, and work with 
nonprofit sponsors, including resource list and 
sample letters of agreement. 



Send check or money order for amount 
plus $2.00 postage and handling (add 
$1 .00 for each extra book) to AIVF 
Publications, 625 Broadway, 9th fl.. 
New York. NY 10012. 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



FIELD REPORT 




MIAMI WAVELENGTHS 




In his film, Illuminated 
Texts, 1987 (Fools 
Gold), Bruce Elder 
elaborates the 
historic conflict 
between science and 
the sacred. The film, 
part of a larger 
project, was 
screened and 
discussed at the 
Miami Waves Festival 
last fall. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Jay Murphy 



In June 1981 Miami artists Bruce Posner and 
Marilyn Gottlieb-Roberts turned their popular 
monthly programs of avant-garde films into 
Film Forms, a series that coupled screenings 
with appearances by visiting experimental 
filmmakers. That autumn, performance artist 
Mary Luft inaugurated the Miami Waves Ex- 
perimental Media Festival in her backyard, 
featuring performance art and new music, 
with Posner and Gottlieb-Roberts program- 
ming films and coordinating the event. In 
later years the festival was held at the down- 
town Miami-Dade Community College cam- 
pus, and the annual budget grew from $500 to 
more than $25,000. In 1987, the festival's tra- 
ditional Buzzard Ball and other performance 
events will become an activity separate from 
the film festival. The festival's film/video com- 
ponent will become part of the Miami-Dade 
Book Fair, and in 1988 will be linked with 
New Music America, being held in Miami. 
Monthly screenings of independent cinema by 
Southeast artists continue under the direction 
of Don Chauncey at the Miami-Dade Public 
Library, a project spawned by the Waves 
Festival. 



The late November 1986 Miami Waves' 
chock-full three-day schedule was marked by 
the intertwined themes of sex and doomsday, 
in the work of controversial Canadian inde- 
pendent filmmaker Bruce Elder, as well as in 
much of the commentary of Stan Brakhage, 
the other guest filmmaker, as well as in Red 
Spot's slide projections and in the slide/tape 
Ballad of Sexual Dependency, by Nan Goldin. 
These were also common motifs in the hours 
of classic avant-garde films, including Richard 
Leacock et al.'s election trail 1960 cinema 
verite Primary, Jean Genet's Un Chant 
d' Amour, offerings from the French Lettrists, 
and from such pioneering spirits of U.S. under- 
ground cinema as Sidney Peterson, Marie 
Menken, Joseph Cornell, and Jonas Mekas. 
From Barbara Rubin's 1963 Christmas on 
Earth to Kurt Kren's rapid-fire, clipped docu- 
ments of Material-Action and Gunther Brus' 
performance art actions of the mid-sixties, ero- 
ticism was emphasized throughout the festival. 

Guest artist Bruce Elder showed Illuminated 
Texts, 1857 (Fools' Gold) and his 1979 Art of 
Worldly Wisdom, all parts of his marathon 
project illustrating the progressive destruction 
of human consciousness since Isaac Newton. 
While deeply influenced by Brakhage's dense 



layering techniques, Elder has also been inspir- 
ed by Eisenstein's project for an "intellectual 
cinema" and his plans to make a film ex- 
plicating the three-volume Capital. Elder's 
virulently anti-Enlightenment films rely some- 
what on found footage and on pastiche and 
quotations from Blake, Milton, Henry Adams, 
and Pound. Elder's subtly color-coded films 
move from a cry against the technological 
rationalization of humanity to an elegy for 
the experience and concept of the sacred that 
has been lost. "I think it's obvious how all of 
this is going to end," Elder told his audience. 
At the first screenings of Elder's work, 
Brakhage suggested that the next project a 
beginning experimental filmmaker might un- 



1857 



tws. tit* iwMimptioM thmi f* is *©t 
* #ft« m* l«Mtett«t» i» mH «e*tfMf»et«rr 



r«for» f* i« ««% 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



dertake would be a film that conveys "orgas- 
mic joy at the annihilation of the world." 
This, Brakhage said, would be logical as a 
sequel to Elder's works, which he termed mod- 
ern masterpieces. 

Brakhage was on hand for various screenings 
of his own work during the festival, including 
not only the early epic Dog Star Man but his 
first film, Desisrfilm, completed in 1954. He 
also screened recent work illustrating Dante, 
using I-Max film copied onto 16mm. The 
handpainted I-Max film frame, equal to eight 
35mm frames, allows an illusionistic depth of 
field found only in painting. The Garden of 
Earthly Delights and Existence Is Song were 
screened along with Brakhage's interpre- 
tations of The Inferno and The Purgatorio, 
which recalled the work of the action and ab- 
stract expressionist painters of the fifties and 
sixties. 

The theme of "painting Hell itself led Brak- 
hage into an embittered discussion of current 
U.S. cultural politics. "When my phone rings, 
it's another horror story," he exclaimed. "I 
don't know one person who is making a living 
doing what they do best, and that is a sad com- 
ment on our civilization." He continued pessi- 
mistically, "I live near Boulder, Colorado, one 
of the largest concentrations of germ warfare 
in the country, where they make three nuclear 
weapons every day," adding that if his own 
work was not "life-generative, it's just wall- 
paper for the brain." Brakhage's jeremiad pro- 
vided a sobering end to the three days of film 
exhibition and discussions of avant-garde 
aesthetics. 

Jay Murphy is editor of Red Bass magazine in 
Tallahassee and a regional editor of Art 
Papers in Atlanta. 



On Tape or Film 
Anyplace on Earth 
You're Covered. 

With hundreds of staff and affiliated 
crews worldwide, it's safe to say that when 
you need something shot overseas. . . 
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With membership in AIVF, you can in- 
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yourself from loss and damage to rented 
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Membership Services, AIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012. 



Worldwide Coordination Through: 

New York: 212 362 4440 
London: 011 441 323 3255 

Worldwide Television News 
WTN Productions 
1995 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10023 



The International Angle 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds 
column includes all listings for "Buy • 
Rent • Sell," "Freelancers" & 
"Postproduction" categories. It is 
restricted to members only. Each 
entry has a 250 character limit & costs 
$15 per issue. Payment must be 
made at the time of submission. 
Anyone wishing to run a classified ad 
more than once must pay for each 
insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. 
Each classified ad must be typed, 
double-spaced & worded exactly 
as it should appear. 
Deadlines for Classifieds will be 
respected. These are the 8th of 
each month, two months prior to the 
cover date, e.g., April 8 for the June 
issue. Make check or money 
order— no cash, please— payable 
to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New 
York, NY 10012. 



Buy o Rent o Sell 



For Sale: Beaulieu S8 6008S w/ Schneider 6-70 lens. 
incl. Schneider Aspheric lens, 200' cart, blimp, 
nicad rechg. $1500/b.o. Sennheiser K3U/ME80 shot- 
gun mic $150/b.o. S8S 2-gang bench w/ Minette S5 
sound viewer $600/b.o. S8S Uher Dakota 816 S8 
Fullcoat recorder $800/b.o. (215) 925-8587. 

For Sale: French Eclair ACL with 1-400' mag and 3- 
200' mags; Cinema Products crystal/variable speed 
motor; Angenieux 12.5-75 zoom; new G&M 
battery belt. Recently overhauled, excellent condi- 
tion. $5,000 or best offer. Call Peter at (301) 276- 
6134. 

For Sale: RCA, TK-76 Video Camera; Angenieux 
zoom: 9.5-142, AC-Adapter, Power Cable, large 
hard-shell travelling case. Excellent Condition. 
$4,900. Call: (607) 589-4771. 

For Sale: 5-Upright 16mm Moviolas. Excellent con- 
dition. Call for details: Michael Shmulevich, Co- 
lumbia University, Film Division, (212) 280- 
2815/280-2842. 

For Sale: Video Editing System. Panasonic NV- 
9600 Edit Recorder, NV-9240 Source Recorder, NV- 
A960 Editing Controller. Also Audio-Video Dis- 
tributor AG-DA100 and Special Effects Generator 
WJ-5500. Plus new Scitech 142 Dual TBC for A-B 
Rolling. Good prices. Good condition. Must be 
seen. Call now: (718) 204-6477. 

For Rent: 3/4" Sony M3A 3-tube camera with Sony 
VO-6800 recorder, $300/full day, 5150/half day. 
1/2" JVC GXS-700 camera w/industrial VHS 
recorder. $200/full day & $100/half day. Prices 
include operating assistant, lights, tripod & Senn- 
heiser mics. Educational Video Center (212) 219- 
8192. 



Freelancers 

PRODUCTION: Experienced Network Videograph- 
ers with complete broadcast gear available for long 
or short term projects. We shoot News, Documen- 
taries, Sports and Music Videos. Reasonable rates. 
Call Tony Brown (212) 302-0161. 

Soundman: Extensive experience in features/ 
documentaries. Great gear, will travel. Call for 
refs/credits. Doug (212) 489-0232 (NYC). 

Award- Winning Cinematographer going to Italy 
in the summer of 1987. Save on travel and related 
expenses. Own 16mm equipment and crew; many 
options available. Renato Tonelli (718) 236-0153. 

Sound Recordist: Available for all types of pro- 
jects — documentaries, narratives, shorts. Have com- 
plete sound package including Nagra 4.2, Schoeps 
super-cardioid, lavaliers, bloop lights, etc. Rates 
negotiable. Cathy Calderon (212) 580-2075. 

P. A. with Van: Film school grad with experience 
on commercials, docs, industrials has VW van with 
running water, sink, ice box. Good personnel and/or 
equipment carrier. Dependable. References. Rea- 
sonable rates. N.Y. area. (718) 937-1290. 

Have Camera Will Travel: Cinematographer with 
own 35 BL and 16SR available for features, docu- 
mentaries, commercials & owns equipment includ- 
ing Nagra, lights, and van. Call (212) 929-7728. 



Postproduction 



BROADCAST QUALITY VIDEO EDITING with 
special effects. $35/hour hands-on rate. Sony BVU- 
800 series editing decks. Convergence 90 controller, 
fades, slo-mo, freeze-frames, Chyron graphics. 
With editor, $55/hr plus graphics. Convergence 
training, 3/4" & VHS transfers/duplication, $15/ 
half-hr, in-house voiceover. location prod, packages. 
Lincoln Center area. HDTV Enterprises, (212) 874- 
4524. 

Negative Matching: 16mm, super 16, 35mm cut 
for regular printing, blowup, or video transfer. 
Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders & 
Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at reasonable rates. 
One White Glove, Tim Brennan (718) 897^+145. 
NYC. 

16mm Flatbeds for Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for rent 
in your workspace or fully equiped downtown 
editing room with 24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in 
NYC for independent filmmakers. Call Philmaster 
Productions (212) 873-4470. 



Sound Transfers: 16/35mm, 24/25/30 fps, center, 
edge, and multi track, time code capable, state of 
the art equipment (includes Time Code Stereo and 
Mono Nagras). Evening and weekend service avail- 
able, convenient downtown location. Discount to 
AIVF and NABET members and for grant funded 
projects. Downtown Transfer/Billy Sarokin; (212) 
255-8698. 

Negative Matching: 16mm or 35mm A/B rolls or 
Prep For Video Transfer. Accurate. Clean. Clients 
include Ericka Beckman/Charles Atlas. Also Studio 
Film Lab. Call Coda Film (212) 265-1191, Andre. 

Video Industrial Editing: Char. Gen. 1/2" VHS 
editing and 3/4" Sony VO-5800/5850 with Laird 
Character Generator $10 per hour, $20 per hour 
with editor. Educational Video Center (212) 219- 
8129. 



There's strength in numbers. 



m 



•••••• 

flit" 



Bob Brodsky and Toni TreadwaY: Super 8 and 8mm 
film-to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color 
correction to 3/4", 1" and high speed components. ■ , J 
By appointment only. Call (617) 666-3372. n~ | 



The Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers means 

• Comprehensive health, disability and equip- 
ment insurance at affordable rates 

• The Festival Bureau: your inside track to 
international and domestic film and video 
festivals 

• Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and 
throughout the country to promote the 
interests of independent producers 

• Access to funding, distribution, technical 
and programming information 

• Professional seminars and screenings 

• Discounts on publications, car rental and 
production services AND 

• A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film 
& Video Monthly, the only national film and 
video magazine tailored to your needs (10 
issues per year) 

Join AIVF today and get a one-year subscrip- 
tion to THE INDEPENDENT Magazine Yearly 
membership rates are S35 individual; (add S 1 
for first class mailing of THE INDEPENDENT!; 
S20 student (enclose proof of student ID); S50 
library (subscription only); S75 organization; 
S45 foreign (outside the US. Canada and Mex- 
ico] Send check or money order to: 









y» ■ » # £• 625 Broadway. Dept. £. 9th floor 
nlVr New York. NY 10012 
or call |2 1 2| 473-3400 



I R.M& VIDEO MONTHLY | 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



■ Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

■ The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

■ Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 
• Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

' Professional seminars and screenings 

■ Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film 8c Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 
to your needs ( 10 issues per year) 



There's strength in numbers. 



J 



oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

□ (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID| 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



Na 



Add 



ress_ 



City. 



State_ 



■>P- 



Country (if outside US)_ 



Telephor 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



NOTICES 




Notices are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others are included as space 
permits. The Independent reserves 
the right to edit for length. 
Deadlines for Notices will be 
respected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., April 8 for the June issue. 
Send notices to Independent 
Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10012. 



Films o Tapes Wanted 

Cinema Guild seeks film & video programs suitable 
for release through its new home video division. 
Contact Gary Crowdus, Cinema Guild, 1697 
Broadway, New York, NY 10019; (212) 246-5522. 

Working Frequencies. Radio prod, team seeks 
audio/radio programs about work-related issues for 
upcoming guide & listening workshops. For more 
info write Working Frequencies, 291 Smith St., 
Brooklyn, NY 11231. 

New Day Films: Self-distrib. coop for independent 



prods, seeks new members w/ recent social issue 
docs. Priority areas: culture, environment, family, 
gay/lesbian, health, handicapped, labor, minority. 
Also progressive films for young people. Appl. 
deadline: May 1. For info, write Ralph Arlyck, 79 
Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. 

American Museum of the Moving Image is look- 
ing for features, shorts, docs & videos w/ distinct 
American regional flavor, for major retrospective 
in May '88. Send preview prints, written material, 
or contact by phone: David Schwartz, American Mu- 
seum of the Moving Image, 34-12 36th St. Astoria, 
NY 11106.(718)784-4520. 

Films & Videos of interest to children. Can be com- 
pleted or out-takes but must be owned by artist. 
Footage featuring different cultures & foreign coun- 
tries especially desired. Send films/ videos w/ 
return postage to Oswego Art Guild, Box 315, 
Fort Ontario Pk., Oswego, NY 13126; (315) 342- 
3579. 

Films & Videos for Herland Film/Video Festival. 
May 1-3. For & about women, all genres. $5 per 
entry. Postmarked by Apr. 18 w/retum postage 
incl. Contact Herland, Oswego Art Guild, Box 
315, Fort Ontario Pk., Oswego, NY 13126; (315) 
342-3579. 



Conferences Workshops 

Chicago Area Film & Video Network will present 
the 2nd Independent Film & Video Conference at 
the Getz Theater, Columbia College, 72 E. 11th 
St., Chicago, LL, June 5-7. Focus on strategies to 
strengthen Chicago's creative media arts commun- 
ity. Panels on public TV, public access, independent 
feature film financing, special interest home videos, 
etc. Contact Paddy Marcotte or Howard Gladstone, 
Chicago Area Film & Video Network, Box 10657, 
Chicago, IL 60610; (312) 276-8654. 

Global Village Video Study Center: Summer 
Courses begin week of June 8: Intensive & Advanc- 
ed Intensive Video; Music Video; Electronic Video 
Editing & Intro to Computer Editing; Advanced 
Computer Videotape Editing; Documentary Video 
& Intensive Workshop in Video Electronics-FCC 
License. Credits available through New School for 
Social Research. Contact Global Village, 454 
Broome St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 966- 
7526. 

NFCB Public Radio Training Conference. Boulder, 
Colorado, July 3-6. Contact Pat Watkins, Nat'l 
Federation of Community Broadcasters, 1314 14th 
St., NW, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 797- 
8911. 



The Canadian Independent FilmTour 



Memoirs 








Scissere 








Next of Kin 








Crime Wave 








Low Visibility 








Mother's Meat 








Freud's Flesh 








It's Like 


o 






a Broken Heart 








NEW YORK 


Feb 23 


to 


Mar 16 


BOSTON 


Mar 5 


to 


Mar 14 


LOS ANGELES 


Mar 6 


to 


Mar 12 


PHILADELPHIA 


Mar 20 


to 


Mar 26 


MINNEAPOLIS 


Apr 8 


to 


Apr 30 


HOUSTON 


Apr 11 


to 


Apr 13 


CLEVELAND 


Apr 17 


to 


Apr 25 


SEATTLE 


May 1 


to 


May 7 


CHICAGO 


May 1 


to 


May 8 


SAN FRANCISCO 


May 13 


to 


May 19 



SPONSORED BY: 

THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA 
TELEFILM CANADA-INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION 
MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-CULTURAL POLICY 
LA SOCIETE GENERALE DU CINEMA DU QUEBEC 
ONTARIO FILM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION 
THE CANADIAN CONSULATES 
THE CANADA ARTS COUNCIL 
CANADIAN FILM VIDEO EXPORT 

We would like to thank the following exhibitors lor their support of the 

Canadian Independent Feature Film Tour. Considering how difficult it is to 

distribute let alone produce these films in Canada. Your participation is truly 

appreciated. 

For further information contact: 

Pachar Chbib 

at Canadian Film-Video Export 

441 St Claude 

Montreal. Quebec 

Canada H2Y-3B6 

Tel. (514)397-1402 



ALTCMune 
HWnHtinmntT 

HOUSTON TEXAS 



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Hallwalls Video Editing Workshop offered on a 
regular basis to introduce new users to Hallwalls' 
video editing facility. Incl. 3/4" editing w/ add. 
Beta & VHS playback. Avail, by proposal to up- 
state independent artists' projects. Contact Hall- 
walls at least 1 wk before scheduled workshops, 
held twice monthly. Limited enrollment. Contact 
Hallwalls, 700 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202; 
(716)854-5828. 

Advanced Video Editing Masterclass offered at 
Newark MediaWorks Apr. 11, 25 & May 2. Inten- 
sive 3-day masterclass entitled "Advanced Video 
Postproduction: Time Code & A/B Roll Tech- 
niques." Classes taught at the Prudential Insurance 
Co., Newark, 10 am-2:30 pm. People w/ interme- 
diate/advanced video skills welcome. Cost: $125 or 
$85 for members of New Jersey Media Artist Net- 
work. Contact Dana Ross Kenney, Newark Media- 
Works, Box 1716, 60 Union St., Newark, NJ 
07101; (201) 690-5474. 

International Television Assn 19th annual confer- 
ence will be held at the Washington Hilton Hotel 
in Washington, DC, May 27-30. Theme is "Int'l 
Crossroads" w/ over 90 workshops for profes- 
sionals in prod. & mgmt of nonbroadcast video. 
Culminates in Video Awards Ceremony for Golden 
& Silver Reel honors. Registration before May 4: 
$390 ITVA members; $100 students; $490 nonmem- 
bers; $135 nonmember students. Increases after 
May 4. Hotel accomodations. $80/night. Contact 
JTVA, 6311 N. O'Connor Rd. #110, Irving. TX 
75039; (214) 869-1 112. 

New York Intl Home Video Market: Independent 
Producers Market will be held at the Jacob K. 
Javits Convention Ctr., New York City, Apr. 21- 
23. Contact Barbara Anne Stockwell, asst. vp. 
Knowledge Industry Publications, 701 Westchester 
Ave.. White Plains. NY 10604; (914) 328-9157. 

Voices of Dissent: A Symposium on the Arts as a 
Force for Social Change. April 10-12. Philadelphia. 
Sponsored by the Painted Bride Art Center, coor- 
dinated by Big Small Theater. 20 plenaries. perfor- 
mances & workshops incl. sessions on censorship 
and free speech, cultural animation, black women in 
song. Native American arts activism, cross gender 
roleplaying, collective art movement in Mexico & 
more. Plus benefit reading for Margaret Randall 
featuring Sonia Sanchez & Dennis Brutus. Regis- 
tration: $25-50. For info contact Jenney Mitner, 
Voices of Dissent/PBAC, 230 Vine St.. Philadelphia. 
PA 19106; (215) 925-9914. 



Opportunities 9 Gigs 

Wanted: Line producer/production manager for 
micro budget 16mm feature-length dramatic film 
to be shot in NYC. Send resume to Milo, 234 E. 
14th St. #1B, NY, NY 10003. 

Wanted: Woman film editor who knows Spanish to 
volunteer w/ doc group in Nicaragua. Approximately 6 
wks editing in wkshp-demo situation. Call Herman 
Engel, Four Corners Prods; (212) 505-1990. 

Nonprofit Production Company now accepting 
appl. for short experimental narrative films for 
production. Max. budget $20,000. For appl. send 



SASE to Apparatus Prods., Box 507, 225 Lafayette 
St., New York, NY 10012. 

Video Artist seeks person w/ 1/2" editing equip- 
ment to join video improvisation group. Call Judy, 
(212) 475-8396, NYC. 

Videographers/Instructors/Editors: Summer posi- 
tions available w/ Legacy Int'l Youth Program. 
Seeks highly motivated individuals for exceptional 
intercultural experience w/ youth in foothills of 
Blue Ridge Mtns. Duties incl. program documen- 
tation, video instruction & planning work for poten- 
tial documentaries & curriculum series. Interview- 
ing now. June 14- Aug. 16. Non-smokers, EOE. 
Located 4 hrs. south of Washington, DC. Call 
(703) 297-5982. 

Position Available: Cornell Cinema Mgr. Super- 
vises theater staff; assists Cornell Cinema Director 
w/ publicity, programming & other duties. Exper- 
ience in theater mgmt. strong communications 
skills & familiarity w/ accounting procedures & 
IBM computer programs necessary. Salary range: 
$14,700-17,000. Send resume to Richard Hersko- 
witz, director, Cornell Cinema, 525 Willard 
Straight Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. 

Producers wy Distribution Rights: Horizon Videos 
seeks films & videos of all genres for TV, cable & 
home distribution in Israel. Send titles & synopses 
to H.V., 11 Brookside Cr., Bronxville, NY 10708. 

Choreographer: Independent choreographer seeks 
opportunity to collaborate w/ film/video artist. 
List of credentials incl. Robert Altman's Rake's 
Progress & CBS TV dance consultant. Call Carole, 
(718) 693-3691, NYC. 

Residencies: film/video/photo at Oswego Art 
Guild's equipment access facility & studios. Residen- 
cies of 1-9 months w/ or w/out stipends. Send 
resume & sample work w/ return postage to Os- 
wego Art Guild, Box 315, Fort Ontario Pk.. Oswe- 
go, NY 13126; (315) 342-3579. 

Video Grants: Barbara Aronofsky Latham Memor- 
ial Grants for Video & Electronic Visualization 
Art/History, Theory & Criticism of Video or Elec- 
tronic Visualization Art. Work-in-progress or new 
projects. $300-$1500. 18 yrs & older eligible. Dead- 
line: postmarked by Apr. 15. For appl. guidelines 
contact Office of the Dean. School of the Art In- 
stitute of Chicago, Columbus Dr. at Jackson Blvd., 
Chicago, IL 60603; (312) 443-3937. 

Media Installation Competition: The Visual Stud- 
ies Workshop will select a new media installation 
work for exhibition. The selected artist will re- 
ceive honorarium of $1,000. Open to artists living 
anywhere in U.S. Deadline for proposals: May 15. 
Contact Visual Studies Workshop. 31 Prince St., 
Rochester, NY 14607; (716) 442-8676. 



Publications o Software 

Cable Programming Resource Directory' now 
available from Nat'l Federation of Local Cable Pro- 
grammers. Lists over 1 100 locations that produce 
access or local origination programming w/ info on 
staff, mgmt. programming, equip. & facilities. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



Also comprehensive listing of cable programming 
sources, directory of satellite services & list of 
int'l programming sources grouped by country. 
Price: $34.95. Call NFLCP Nat'l Office; (202) 544- 
7272 or write NFLCP, 906 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, 
Washington, DC 20003. 

American Film Distribution: The Changing Market- 
place., by Suzanne Mary Donahue, offers practical 
info on the business of motion picture distribution 
w/ emphasis on new venues for ind. filmmakers. 
$49.95 from UMI Research Press, 300 N. Zeeb Rd., 
Ann Arbor, MI 48106; (800) 521-0600/(313) 761- 
4700. 



Resources o Funds 

Media Grants for social issue media projects will 
be administered through Paul Robeson Fund for 
Film & Video of the Funding Exchange. Deadline: 
May 1. Write Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 

Natl Endowment for the Arts: Arts Management 
Fellowships to arts administrators at the Endow- 
ment offices in Wash. DC. Deadline: Apr. 17. Con- 
tact NEA Visual Arts Program, (202) 682-5448. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting Open Solici- 
tations deadlines: May 1. Contact CPB, Program 
Fund, 1111 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036. 

Film Bureau: Grants avail, to nonprofit NYS-based 
organizations for exhibition programs. Supports 
wide variety of programs, from annual film fests 
to special screenings at local libraries, galleries & 
community centers. Matching funds of up to $300 
avail, for film rentals & up to $200 per speaking en- 
gagement for presentations by filmmakers, produc- 
ers, directors, technicians & scholars. Priority given 
to organizations showing works by independent 
filmmakers &/or films not ordinarily avail, to the 
public. Deadlines: June 15, Aug. 15. Contact Film/ 
Video Arts, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003- 
4797; (212) 673-9361. 

Film in the Cities: Regional grants available to film/ 
video artists residing in IA, MN, ND, SD & WI. 
Max. request of $16,000 for new works & $6,500 
for completion. Deadline: Apr. 3. Appl. workshops 
available in each state. Contact Film in the Cities; 
(612)646-6104. 

Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Assn. sub- 
sidy grants avail, to members of PIFVA; funds pro- 
vided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 
Funds awarded for specific, targeted services vital 
to the project's completion, performed at below 
commercial rates. Average grants $250-500. 
Deadlines: Apr. 1, June 1. For apps, contact 
PIFVA, Int'l House, 3701 Chestnut St., Philadel- 
phia, PA 19104; (215) 387-5125. 

Womens Studio Workshop: Postprod. residency for 
women filmmakers. Facilities incl. 6-plate flatbed 
moviola, synchronizer & squawk box & movie- 
scope. Up to $250 for materials. Contact Women's 
Studio Workshop, Box V, Rosendale, NY 12472; 
(914)658-9133. 



FILM & VIDEO PRODUCTION 

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814 BROADWAY 
NEW YORK, NY 10003 



APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



Trims & Glitches 

Congratulations to winners of the New York 
State Council on the Arts distribution grants to 
individual filmmakers: Mirra Bank, Spirit to Spirit; 
Suzanne Bauman, Cuba; Alan Berliner, Family Al- 
bums; Christine Choy & Renee Tajima, Who Killed 
Vincent Chin?; Peter Davis, The Borscht Belt; Deb- 
orah Dickson, Frances Stelloff; Janet Forman, The 
Beat Generation; Su Friedrich, The Ties That Bind; 
Sharon Greytak, Weirded Out & Blown Away; 
Henry Hills, Money; Manny Kirchheimer, We 
Were So Beloved; Sheila McLaughlin, She Must Be 
Seeing Things; Jane Morrison, Master Smart Wo- 
men; Brent Owens, A Cry for Help; Robert Rich- 



ter, Do Not Enter: The Visa War against Ideas & 
Lucy Winer & Paula de Koenigsburg, Rate It X. 

Kudos to NYSCA Media Grant awardees Janet 
Kern, Begin with Me; Joan Jubela & Stan Davis, 
Bombs Aren't Cool; Daniel Riesenfeld, Bopha; 
Mark Mori, Building Bombs; Shirlee Jensen, By the 
Light of the Moon; Kate Purdie, Career Women; 
Jim Bradley. Cause for Alarm; Catherine Russo, Co- 
madres; Mary Lance, Diego Rivera Film; Juan 
Andres Racz, Duke Patria; Deborah Shaffer, Fire 
from the Mountain; Judea Crisfield, For Freedom in 
South Africa; Barbara Kristaphonis, The Gourd of 
Anansa; Pat Goudvis & Robert Richter, Guatemala: 
A New Democracy; John Junkerman, Hellfire: A 
Journey from Hiroshima; Liane Brandon, How to 




I • 



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Distributors of films 
made by African 
& African American 
filmmakers 



dramatic and documentary films that 
reflect the full spectrum of life 
experiences within the Black diaspora 

For more information, rental and sales: 

MYPHEDUH FILMS, INC. 

48 Q Street, N.E. 
Washington, D.C. 20002 
(202) 529-0220 



Prevent a Nuclear War; Rhyena Halpem, Mom & 
Apple Pie; Carole Langer, Ottawa: The Betrayal of 
a Town; Brenda King & Mary Beth Yarrow, Out of 
the House; Wynn Hausser, A Question of 
Conscience: Sanctuary; Ellin Stein, The Secretary 
File; Michelle Parkerson, Storme: The Lady in the 
Jewel Box; Andrea Primdahl, Stranger in Our 
Midst; Olivia Carrescia, Todos Santos: Survivors; 
Ying Ying Wu, Vietnam Vets: Dissidents for Peace 
& Suzanne Lacy, Whisper, the Waves, the Wind. 

Kudos to 1986 film and video production grantees 
from the National Endowment for the Arts Media 
Program: Jane Aaron, Appalshop, Barbara Kopple, 
Roberta Cantow, Dan Reeves, Katherine Davis, 
Julia Reichert & Jim Klein, Gary Hill, Kathe Sand- 
ler, Steven Okazaki, Skip Battaglia, Haile Gerima, 
Mark Rappaport, Kathy Rose. Peter Rose, David 
Shulman, Edin Velez, Bill Viola, Paul Kos & Fred- 
erick Wiseman. DeeDee Halleck and the producers 
of the Peliculas project were approved by panel for 
funding in this cycle, but were rejected by the En- 
dowment's National Council [see "Media Clips," 
November 1986]. 

NEA Northeast & Caribbean Regional Office has 
moved to Rm. 1803, 505 8th Ave., NY, NY 10018: 
(212) 564-0420. Ellen Thurston is the NEA's re- 
gional rep. for CT. DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, 
NJ, NY, PA. RI, VT, PR & US Virgin Is. 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

AIVF offers its members excellent group 
medical and life insurance plans, admin- 
istered by The Entertainment Industry 
Group Insurance Trust (TEIGIT). Our 
comprehensive medical plan offers: 

• $200 deductible 

• 80% co-insurance 

• yearly out-of-pocket cost set at $ 1 ,000 
maximum & $1,000,000 maximum life- 
time benefit 

Other plans are available, including disa- 
bility income insurance with a $500 
monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or for more information, 
write AIVF Membership Services, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor. New York NY 10012, 
or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 



continued from page 36 

The documentary tradition is one of the ex- 
pression of strong points of view and pas- 
sionately held beliefs. John Grierson proudly 
called filmmaking his "pulpit" and his films 
"propaganda." The finest American documen- 
taries, from The River to Harlan County, 
U.S.A., have been great precisely because they 
made strong and compelling statements art- 
fully and persuasively. The misapplication of 
notions of objectivity and balance result only 
in a narrow range of nonfiction television 
drained of all passion and persuasion. 

Moreover, the law requires nothing of the 
sort. Statutory requirements of objectivity and 
balance apply only to the overall schedule, not 
individual programs. Yet notions of objectivity 
and balance continue to limit the range of 
discussion of issues about which all views 
should be heard. 

III. PBS is not obtaining the highest quality 
national programming consistent with its 
unique mission. 

Public broadcasting has the mission of 
providing the public with television program- 
ming that is an alternative to commercial 
broadcasting. It was intended to be free of the 
commercial and demographic constraints 
necessary to make commercial broadcasting 
profitable. 

In reality, however, financial and political 
pressures on the system have made it more 
"commercial." Where quality should be the 
only standard for program selection, under- 
writability has taken over. Corporate support 
amounts to only a relatively small percentage 
of total station or system budgets, but it is the 
money that calls the programming shots, with 
federal and membership funds more likely to 
cover station overhead. 

Ratings, too, once the sole concern of com- 
mercial broadcasters, have taken a command- 
ing role in public television programming. 
Inadequate federal funding has made member- 
ship contributions more important than ever. 
While, of course, audience numbers are impor- 
tant to consider, they are not always a 
measure of excellence or diversity. The endless 
stream of nature shows is a clear demon- 
stration of where mass appeal leads in PTV 
programming. Independents are continually 
advised to propose projects with pledge night, 
rather than their principles, in mind. 

The most effective way for PBS to encourage 
diversity and excellence in public broadcast 
programming, while maintaining balance and 
objectivity in the overall schedule, would be to 
eliminate the bottlenecks and obstacles to full 
participation of independent producers in the 
PBS schedule. AIVF is ready and willing to 
work with PBS to develop policies and proce- 
dures to achieve that goal and help bring the 
American public the innovative and diverse 
programming being produced within the 
American independent producer community. 



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APRIL 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



MEMORANDA 



AIVF/FIVF THANKS 

The Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers and the Foundation for Inde- 
pendent Video and Film provide a variety of 
programs and services to the independent pro- 
ducer community, including publication of 
The Independent, the FIVF Festival Bureau, 
seminars and workshops, and an information 
clearinghouse. None of this work would be pos- 
sible without the generous support of the fol- 
lowing agencies, organizations, and indi- 
viduals: 

Camera Mart, Inc.; Cinema 5 Theaters; Circle 
Releasing Corporation; Consolidated Edison 
Company of NY; Du Art Film Laboratories; 
Eastman Kodak Company; Film Equipment 
Rental Co.; the Ford Foundation; Guild Theatre 



Enterprises: Home Box Office, Inc.; Lubell & 
Lubell; Manhattan Cable Television; Morgan 
Guaranty Trust Company; Movielab Video; 
National Endowment for the Arts; New York 
State Council on the Arts; New York State 
Governor's Office for Motion Picture & Tele- 
vision Development; Orion Classics; Rock- 
america; TVC Image Technology; Uptown, 
Manhattan's Moviechannel; the Walter Reade 
Organization; WNET/ Thirteen. 

MAKING CHANGES 

Debra Goldman, associate editor of The Inde- 
pendent for the past year and a half and 
frequent contributor to the magazine, left 
AIVF in early February to work as a free- 
lance writer. Prior to assuming her editorial 



role, Debra worked as FIVF's seminar director 
and as the chief reporter for The Indepen- 
dent's "Media Clips" column. And her de- 
tailed account of the first 10 years of AIVFs 
existence [in our January /February 1985 issue] 
earned her the position of unofficial AIVF 
historian, even in absentia. 

Debra's desk in The Independent's, corner of 
the AIVF office will now be occupied by 
Patricia Thomson, who has been hired as man- 
aging editor for the magazine. Previously a 
freelance writer covering independent film 
and video, television, and advertising for num- 
erous publications and a contributing editor of 
The Independent, Pat will take mangerial 
responsibility for the magazine as well as 
continuing to write on subjects concerning in- 
dependent media for these pages. 



ON PBS PUBLIC AFFAIRS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: AN INDEPENDENT VIEW 



Lawrence Sapadin 



Ed.'s note: The following remarks on the 
Public Broadcasting Senice' s program policies 
and procedures were written and delivered 
before PBS's Special Committee, convened to 
review those policies and procedures, on 
February 3, 1987, by Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director of AIVF. The Special 
Committee is chaired by E. William Heni-y, 
attorney and former FCC chair; the other 
members are Elie Abel, Honey Alexander, 
Burnhill Clark, Katherine Fanning, Stephen 
Greyser, William Kobin, William Sheehan, 
and Frederick Taylor, with PBS president 
Bruce Christensen and PBS board chair 
Alfred Stern acting as ex officio committee 
members. 

This Special Committee has been charged to 
determine whether current PBS program pol- 
icies and procedures encourage the highest 
quality program, provide reasonable access to 
diverse points of view, and reflect accepted 
journalistic standards. I will take the liberty of 
reordering these concerns and will begin with 
the issue of diversity. On this point, AIVF 
regrettably concludes: 

I. PBS program policies and procedures do not 
provide adequate access to the public tele- 
vision broadcast schedule for programs that 
reflect the great diversity of human though, 
expression, and experience. 

Independent producers are the primary 
vehicle by which public broadcasting achieves 
programming diversity. The House of Repre- 
sentatives, in its Report accompanying the 
1984 Public Broadcasting Amendments Act, 
stated that: 



The promise of public broadcasting as a service 
offering a high quality, alternative programming 
fare aimed at enriching the cultural, informational, 
and educational needs of the public, is in large part 
attributable to the valuable input of independent 
producers. 

Typically, independents work outside the 
mainstream networks and studios of New 
York and Los Angeles. They work close to 
their subjects, often spending years research- 
ing and even living with the people they film. 
They work regionally. They explore the off- 
beat. They bring to the media messages from 
the citizens of this large nation not tradi- 
tionally represented on the television screen: 
women, minorities, union members, gays, and 
other under-represented constituencies. Inde- 
pendents are not classifiable politically: their 
work reflects the diversity of political life in 
this country and makes for a noisy, stimula- 
ting public discussion, if they have adequate 
access to the system. 

However, there are substantial obstacles to in- 
dependent access to the public airwaves: 

1. Scheduling limitations. Independents 
typically produce single programs. Yet the sys- 
tem favors series. The independent producer 
who is not one of the privileged few whose 
work is suitable for Frontline or American 
Playhouse will only see the light of public TV 
air if his or her work is selected for a "Wednes- 
day night special." 

2. Lack of acquisition funds. Moreover, 
independents whose work is selected by PBS 
are often informed that PBS has no money 
for the acquisition and that the work must 
therefore be offered free. 

3. Lack of "step up" funds. Should the pro- 
ducer agree to offer his/her program free in 
order to reach the largest potential audience. 



he/she is likely to be further advised by PBS 
that he/she will have to raise additional funds 
to cover the technical costs of preparing the 
program for national air and for promotion. 

4. Lack of promotional support. Months 
having passed since the producer first con- 
tacted PBS, when the program is aired, few 
will see it due to the lack of promotional 
support afforded the independently produced 
single program. 

5. Bureaucratic delay. Throughout all of this 
unprofessional conduct will be the added bur- 
den of unnecessary delay. It will remain un- 
clear to the producer who is making the 
decisions and when their program will be 
broadcast, if at all. 

6. Absence of clear underwriting and jour- 
nalistic guidelines. Added to the delay and 
financial hardship will be the impossibility of 
dealing with standards and guidelines, which 
are often unavailable. To independent produc- 
ers, reference to "PBS Guidelines" has come 
to be more a matter of folklore than the invo- 
cation of written policies and practices. 

II. PBS policies fail to reflect the realities and 
requirements of nonfiction television program- 
ming. 

We are mindful of the context in which this 
review has been undertaken. Concern has 
been expressed about the political content of 
programs funded by the Corporation for Pub- 
lic Broadcasting and/or distributed by PBS. 
We are mindful, but not sympathetic. So- 
called "accepted journalistic standards" apply 
to journalism, yet notions of balance and 
objectivity risk being applied by PBS to all 
nonfiction programs in a way which is dis- 
honest, ineffective, and counterproductive to 
the mission of public broadcasting. 

continued on page 35 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1987 




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Production Staff 

Art Director 

Advertising 



National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Morgan Gwenwald 
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Barbara Spence; 
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PetC a p Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), 
a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of 
video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership 
in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independent and 
the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

■ All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's pre- 
vious appearance in The Independent. 
ISSN 0731-5198. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1987 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business man- 
ager; Raina Fortini, administrative assistant; Sol 
Horowitz. Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Joyce Bo- 
linger (chair), Robert Richter (president), Howard 
Petrick (vice president). Robin Reidy (secretary), 
Adrianne Benton," Christine Choy (treasurer), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand," Richard Lorber," Tom Luddy. 
Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), 
Steve Savage,* Brenda Webb, Barton Weiss, 
John Taylor Williams 

' FIVF Board of Directors only 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

1 4 Why Christian Television Is Good TV 

by Julia Lesage 

2 1 Questions of Images and Politics 

by Trinh T. Minh-ha 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Congress and the FCC Decide the Fate of the Fairness Doctrine 

by Quynh Thai 

Boro to Boro 

by Renee Tajima 

Sequels 

6 FIELD REPORT 

Going Dutch: The International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 

by Andrea Weiss 

9 IN FOCUS 

Days of Miracle and Wonder: Video Trends at SMPTE '86 

by David Leitner 

24 FESTIVALS 

Pacific Picturesque: The Hawaii International Film Festival 

by Caroll Blue 

In Brief 

by Kathryn Bowser 

31 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

33 CLASSIFIEDS 

34 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 



COVER: While leftists and feminists most often reject the ideological message that 
Christian television programs communicate to their largely white, working-class 
audiences, such programs as The 700 Club and the Jimmy Swaggart show can teach 
progressives something about using the medium effectively. In "Why Christian Television 
Is Good TV," Julia Lesage analyzes both Christian TV's ideology— the homophobia and 
racism that are its deep structuring principles— and its tactics of persuasion. 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



■r 



* 



LETTERS 




VHM 



Video Software // Interest Group 



AN OPEN LETTER 

TO VIDEO 

AND FILM PRODUCERS 

FROM VIDEO-SIG 



Many of you are sitting on the rights to video or film features and short 
subjects that you can't or don't have the resources to take to the 
marketplace. 

You are independent producers, directors, entertainers, sports personali- 
ties or home enthusiasts! 

You have produced a quality production which deserves and needs to be 
available to the public at large! 

You should be rewarded for your time and talent! 

You should know about VIDEO-SIG! 

VIDEO-SIG ( Software Interest Group ) is a video publisher committed to 
distributing quality video programs to the purchasing public at low cost. 
This is accomplished through mail order sales, extensive advertising and 
direct marketing. 

VIDEO-SIG is a division of PC-SIG, publishers of the world's largest 
collection of computer software for the IBM PC and compatibles. Our 
success and reputation are based on product integrity, attentive customer 
service and large distribution base. We believe that these same principles 
can be applied in the video market, thus creating a large library of stimulat- 
ing, creative and interesting video productions reaching a broad spectrum 
of consumers. 

The formula is simple. We review and accept quality productions into our 
library. The producer is paid a royalty of 10% on each cassette sold which 
are priced from 87.95 to % 1995. Each production is listed in the VIDEO-SIG 
library catalog. We take responsibility for mastering and duplicating your 
production, as well as listing and describing your tape in our catalog and 
other promotional materials. In turn, VIDEO-SIG has a NON-EXCLUSIVE 
right to market your programs allowing you to retain the right to see your 
production anywhere else. 

The quickest way to fame, as many of you have experienced, is through 
exposure. If you have the rights to a video or film production that you wish 
to have considered in our catalog for retail and mail order sales — send a 
review copy of your production to: 

VIDEO-SIG 

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ask for JULIE 

Submission of material does not commit you in anyway. Upon receipt of 
your VHS tape, we will review your production and let you know promptly if 
it has been accepted for inclusion in the library. Please send a duplicate as 
VIDEO-SIG cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to master tapes. 



To the editor: 

The apparently unending ineptitude of the Learn- 
ing Channel's legal dealings with producers 
["Rights and Wrongs: Learning Channel Con- 
tracts," January /February 1987] is only the tip 
of an iceberg. As one of the supposed 700,000 
subscribers to TLC, and as an independent with 
a tape turned down for The Independents: 
Ordinary People series, let me tell you some of 
what came next. In the end, I was not unhappy 
to have been rejected. 

The first problem is that TLC is a totally 
inappropriate setting for this series. Its usual 
fare is how-to shows on southern cooking, coin 
collecting, dress-making, how to play bridge... 
programming so utterly routine that it is not 
even listed in my Cablevision program guide, 
never mind the newspapers. 

As no one would find it by chance, I watched 
for the publicity for Ordinary People. And I 
found nothing in either the Boston or New 
York papers. A major effort was about to debut, 
with significant money backing it, and no story, 
no program listing, no announcement, not even 
in the New York Times Sunday section on 
cable. The Cablevision guide didn't print a 
word. I did get a postcard from a friend whose 
film was going to be included in the series. But 
even she couldn't say when that would be. 
"Check your local listing," her card said. Ha. 

Did TLC do any publicity? I got hold of 
their press kit. They'd put some effort into it — a 
big folder with a page and a photo on each of 
the 12 hours. But all of it was boiler-plate stuff, 
badly written and full of typos, guaranteed not 
to excite an editor. I also learned that their press 
conferences had come only a few days before 
the series aired, much too late for anyone to do 
the "Work justice. 

Then what went on cable? In Boston, for the 
first several shows it was a picture full of noise 
and black specks, accompanied by nearly 
unintelligible sound. Somehow this struck me as 
the ultimate insult. After the first six or seven 
shows, TLC's evening programming disappear- 
ed altogether, along with The Independents. I 
called Cablevision, and they said I should call 
TLC. But TLC said it was the decision of the 
cable company. TLC put me in touch with its 
Northeast salesman, and I learned that he 
didn't even know that Cablevision had been 
carrying the evening schedule, or The Indepen- 
dents, at all. 

It is clear that, whatever the merits of The 
Independents, the MacArthur Foundation will 
get next to nothing for its money unless it ad- 
dresses the limits and inappropriateness of the 
Learning Channel and its audience. A major re- 
structuring of the whole effort is required, not 
just fixing the contract. 

— Jack Churchill 
Brookline. MA 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 




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CONGRESS AND THE FCC DECIDE 
THE FATE OF THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE 



The fairness doctrine, one of the mainstays of 
broadcasting regulations devised to ensure the 
coverage of controversial issues and contrasting 
viewpoints in broadcast media, has evolved 
through interpretations of public interest re- 
quirements in communications law but has 
never been directly spelled out in any statute. 
Now, 37 years after it was first applied, the U.S. 
Congress is considering legislation intended to 
dispell questions concerning the limits and 
legality of the fairness doctrine. The primary 
motivation for these efforts comes from repeat- 
ed attempts in recent years by the Federal 
Communication Commission, the agency creat- 
ed to regulate the broadcasting industry, to re- 
peal fairness doctrine requirements. 

Senate Commerce Committee chair Ernest 
Hollings (D-South Carolina) has been the major 
player in drafting a bill to codify the fairness 
doctrine. This March he convened hearings to 
gather ammunition for an anticipated battle with . 
some broadcasters and FCC deregulators who 
oppose the measure. In his testimony before the 
committee outgoing FCC chair Mark Fowler 
confirmed his position that the doctrine should 
be rescinded — but with diminished prospects 
for seeing his views put into action. 

Only a short time ago, before the Democrats 
won control of the Senate, the fate of the fair- 
ness doctrine seemed sealed. Consistent with its 
philosophy of broadcast industry deregulation, 
the Reagan-appointed FCC issued a 111-page 
report in August 1985 declaring the doctrine 
constitutionally "suspect." In that report they 
argued that the proliferation of broadcast sta- 
tions in recent years "makes unnecessary any 
governmentally imposed obligation to balance 
coverage of controversial issues of public impor- 
tance." In contrast to circumstances in 1949, 
when the doctrine was first promulgated and 
limited spectrum space meant broadcasters con- 
stituted public trustees responsible to the public, 
the commission argued that such accountability 
is no longer necessary. 

Backed by a number of broadcasting groups, 
such as the National Association of Broadcast- 
ers (NAB) and the Radio-Television News Di- 
rectors Association (RTNDA), the FCC won a 
decisive victory in their efforts to nullify the 
doctrine last September when a three-judge 
federal appeals court considering a case on 
teletext regulation voted two-to-one that the 
FCC can, if it wishes, repeal the doctrine. Other 
recent court cases involving the fairness doc- 
trine's legal standing and enforcement include 



Meredith Corporation (owners of WTVH-TV in 
Syracuse, New York) vs. FCC, which a U.S. 
court of appeals sent back to a lower court pend- 
ing an FCC rulemaking on the constitutionality 
of the doctrine. The RTNDA also brought ac- 
tions against the FCC, based on the trade asso- 
ciation's contention that the commission is act- 
ing in an unconstitutional manner by failing to 
repeal the doctrine after finding it irrelevant to 
the "public interest." Needless to say, the cur- 
rent commission is in sympathy with this chal- 
lenge. Nevertheless, in 1969 the Supreme Court 
upheld the doctrine as constitutional in the Red 
Lion case. 

Other longstanding critics of the doctrine 
range from NBC and CBS to the Society of 
Professional Journalists, who complain that it 
compels broadcasters to avoid covering contro- 
versial issues and encourages blandness, since 
they may curtail controversial programming to 
prevent demands for air time. Again, the FCC's 
report concurs. The broadcast interests argue 
further that the doctrine violates the First 
Amendment by allowing a government agency 
to regulate broadcasters' freedom of speech. 

Those arguing in favor of the doctrine — 
groups like the Media Access Project, the 
American Civil Liberties Union, the Democratic 
National Committee, and Accuracy in Media — 
maintain that it assures democratic treatment of 
public affairs issues. One prominent doctrine de- 
fender, former FCC chair Newton Minow, has 
maintained that the mere existence of more 
channels does not guarantee that varying points 
of view will be heard or that the demand for 
access to frequencies has diminished. In an op- 
ed article in the New York Times, Minow wrote 
that the proper tests for spectrum scarcity is not 
determined by the number of channels available 
but by the number of people who want licenses 
for those channels. 

The burden of complying with the doctrine is 
arguably less stringent than those urging its 
repeal might assert. Broadcasters are not requir- 
ed to present opposing views in specific ratios 
of time (the fairness doctrine should not be 
confused with the equal time requirement grant- 
ed political candidates), nor does the doctrine 
specify whether contrasting or contradictory 
viewpoints be aired during primetime or non- 
primetime hours. The coverage accorded under 
the doctrine can be decided by the broadcast en- 
tity: they do not have to present another inter- 
pretation of a controversial subject in the same 
show, same day, or even the same type of pro- 



gram. Broadcasters can chose how, when, and 
who will offer the contrasting viewpoint. Fur- 
thermore, FCC fairness doctrine decisions 
examine overall programming by a station to 
determine whether or not an issue has been 
represented. In fact, 99 percent of the com- 
plaints filed against broadcasters under the 
doctrine are eventually rejected by the FCC as 
without merit. Of the one percent that are 
considered, only 15 percent have resulted in 
FCC action. While it does not police broad- 
cast entities, the doctrine serves as a reminder 
to broadcasters of their responsibilities as 
public trustees. Rather than hindering broad- 
casting, "The public trusteeship principle... en- 
hances the broadcasters' integrity nationwide 
[and] the Fairness Doctrine, as one aspect of the 
principle, has added significantly to the institu- 
tional credibility of broadcasting," stated the 
Fisher Broadcasting Company, a proponent of 
the doctrine. 

The FCC has said that it would faithfully 
enforce the fairness doctrine if Congress so re- 
quires. Quoted in the Wall Street Journal, FCC 
general counsel Diane Killory said, "The Com- 
mission isn't going to attack something in our 
statutes as unconstitutional, as long as [the 
doctrine] is considered statutory." Prior to the re- 
cent congressional initiatives to enact a clear-cut 
mandate for FCC enforcement of the doctrine, 
the commission issued a list of alternatives: con- 
sidering fairness complaints only at the time of 
license renewal, permitting broadcasters to rely 
on contrasting viewpoints presented on other 
local stations, and replacing the doctrine with an 
access requirement for opposing views. 

But Hollings and his colleagues seem ready 
to go a different route. The majority on the 
Senate Commerce Committee support Hollings' 
bill, and its most vocal opponent, former Com- 
merce Committee chair Bob Packwood (R- 
Oregon) has said that he will not filibuster the 
bill when it reaches the Senate floor. On the 
House side, Representative John Dingell (D- 
Michigan). chair of the Energy and Commerce 
Committee, plans to introduce a similar measure 
soon. While legislation cannot forestall an ulti- 
mate Supreme Court challenge to the fairness 
doctrine, explicit congressional support for the 
principle, combined with the renewed attention 
to the "public interest" requirements of broad- 
casting law that the debate has produced, por- 
tend a shift away from the marketplace ethic 
that the FCC under Fowler — and Reagan — has 
pursued so avidly. 

QUYNH THAI 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



BORO TO BORO 

Teleconferencing is no longer the sole province 
of corporate biggies, nor does it have to be a 
multidirectional bore. In February the Bronx 
Council on the Arts launched a pilot program 
called Soul to Soul, a public access teleconfer- 
encing network linking three New York City 
boroughs. The network is designed as a vehicle 
for cross-cultural, educational, and artistic ex- 
change sent via microwave. Direct live commu- 
nications will be possible from each telecon- 
ferencing center, which are all located at public 
school television facilities: the District 6 televi- 
sion studio in the Washington Heights section 
of upper Manhattan, the District 12 television 
studio in the South Bronx, and the Brooklyn 
Tech studio in the Fort Greene neighborhood of 
Brooklyn. 

Soul to Soul is the brainchild of project 
director Meryl Bronstein, an independent film- 
and videomaker. She was able to garner consid- 
erable in-kind services and equipment to get the 
network off the ground, including $50,000 plus 
in microwave equipment donated by the tele- 
communications hardware company M/A COM, 
valuable space for a central relay point provided 
by Citicorp, and equipment installation from 
Local Union 3 of Group W Cable. 

The ongoing schedule provides for regular 
community affairs forums, performance and 



music programs, as well as video art and art 
experiments. So far this spring, Soul to Soul has 
featured programs as diverse as The Four 
Elements, a multimedia interchange by Gar- 
goyle Mechanique and Erotic Psyche, a Forum 
on Homelessness, sponsored by the Homeless 
Union, and a video artist exchange facilitated by 
Alan Moore. For more information on the 
network, contact Meryl Bronstein, Bronx Coun- 
cil on the Arts, 1738 Hone Ave., Bronx, NY 
10461; (212) 931-9500. 

RENEETAJIMA 



SEQUELS 

The study of the content of public 
affairs programs on PBS, first proposed in 
the spring of 1986 by then CPB director Richard 
Brookhiser ["Board in Flames: Conservatives 
Take Control at CPB," January/February 1987, 
and "Sequels," April 1987] was officially aban- 
doned by the CPB board when it met in Seattle 
last March. A report of the board's Mission and 
Goals Committee recommended that CPB "for- 
go any further pursuit of using social science 
research to evaluate objectivity and balance in 
CPB funded programming," while instructing 
the corporation to monitor the results of a paral- 
lel study being conducted by a special PBS 
committee on programming policies and proce- 
dures ["On PBS Public Affairs Policies and Pro- 



cedures: An Independent View," April 1987]. 
The Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers was among the groups and indivi- 
duals protesting the content analysis project and 
its possible censorious consequences. 

□ 

The British Broadcasting Corporation 

stayed within its ranks to chose a successor for 
Alasdair Milne, who resigned as director gen- 
eral amidst considerable controversy earlier this 
year ["The Secret Society in Action: BBC 
Raid," April 1987]. Number two man at the 
BBC, Michael Checkland, has been appointed 
for a five-year term. 



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MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 5 



FIELD REPORT 



GOING DUTCH: THE INTERNATIONAL 
GAY AND LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL 




There was no paucity of 
lesbian films at the 
Amsterdam Inter- 
national Gay and 
Lesbian Film Festival, 
where Madchen in 
Uniform was screened 
along with the rare 
Mexican version, 
Muchachas en 
Uniforme. 



Andrea Weiss 



In recent years, gay film festivals have caught 
hold with a firm grip, providing lesbians and 
gay men with opportunities to see otherwise 
rarely screened work with homosexual themes 
and imagery. New York, San Francisco, Chica- 
go, and Los Angeles are only some of the U.S. 
cities that host annual gay film events (often in- 
cluding video). While the institutionalization of 
these festivals can be attributed to the relative 
wealth of gay men (both as active movie-goers 
with plentiful disposable income and as owners 
of businesses whose financial contributions are 
paramount) — compared to the relative poverty 
of women and minorities — the overwhelming 
success of gay film festivals is partially depen- 
dent upon the particular, intricate relationship 
that gay men and lesbians have to what appears 
on the screen. 

This relationship has been articulated in 
Gays and Film, edited by Richard Dyer (Lon- 
don: British Film Institute, 1980, revised 1984), 
in which gay cinema was first and most clearly 
defined in terms that go beyond simple depic- 
tions of gay characters, considering factors such 
as a gay sensibility functioning as part of the cre- 



ative process at work in the production and/or 
interpretation of films (argued and elaborated in 
Jack Babuscio's essay "Camp and the Gay Sen- 
sibility")- This book hasn't been widely avail- 
able in the United States, although Dyer et al. 
established the foundation for most subsequent 
analyses of gay film culture. 

The three lengthy essays by Dyer, Babuscio, 
and Caroline Sheldon that comprise Gays and 
Film suggest that the specific relationship of 
gay audiences to cinema can be characterized 
in part by an intense identification with certain 
Hollywood stars. For lesbians these have often 
been the larger-than-life women who are beauti- 
ful, strong, and sexually ambiguous: Marlene 
Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Katherine Hepburn, 
for example. Traditionally, gay men have identi- 
fied with the mock naivete of Judy Garland or 
the theatricality of Mae West, Bette Davis, and 
Tallulah Bankhead. Their self-conscious paro- 
dies of rigid heterosexual Hollywood norms is 
the stuff of "camp," characteristic of certain as- 
pects of gay culture. And the appeal of cinema 
as an escape from the conditions of isolation 
and internalized self-hatred that historically 
have plagued gay people has further intensified 
the importance of the silver screen in their 
lives. 



Risking gross generalization, I'd venture that 
European filmmakers and critics understand 
these phenomena far better than their U.S. 
counterparts, a surmise confirmed by my experi- 
ence at the International Gay and Lesbian Film 
Festival in Amsterdam last December, which 
occupied three theaters for 15 days (followed by 
a tour of 25 other Dutch cities). The festival 
featured films from North and South America, 
Asia, and North Africa, made during every de- 
cade from the thirties to the eighties. They were 
supplemented by continuous video screenings, 
several photography exhibits, informal discus- 
sions with filmmakers after the screenings, and 
a number of panel discussions and prepared lec- 
tures on such subjects as lesbian romance narra- 
tives, the media representation of AIDS, 
American underground cinema, and lesbian 
pornography. Many filmmakers, critics, and the- 
orists attended, among them Jaime Umberto 
Hermosilla {Donna Erlinda and Her Sons), Don- 
na Deitch (Desert Hearts), Vitto Russo (The 
Celluloid Closet), Wieland Speck (Westler), 
Greta Schiller (Before Stonewall), and Mark 
Finch (British Film Institute). Many new films 
premiered and many recent but rarely seen 
films were given an encore. The coordination 
of the festival with the fortieth anniversary 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 




£ 




3HL 




Kenneth Anger's Scorpio 
Rising was one stop on 
Richard Dyer's gay tour 
of the American 
underground cinema: 
his lecture at the Amster- 
dam festival. 

Courtesy Mystic Fire Video 



celebration of the Dutch gay liberation organ- 
ization NVIH — COC (Nederlandse Vereniging 
Tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit COC), 
the oldest such group in the world, added to 
the historical perspective that informed fes- 
tival selections of such films as Anna und 
Elisabeth (Germany, 1933), Les Enfants 
Terribles (France, 1949), Suddenly Last 
Summer (U.S., 1959), / Could Go On Singing 
(England, 1963), and Rainha Diaba (Brazil, 
1974), among others. 

The strong program of films of particular 
interest to women can be credited to the 
participation of Cinemien, a feminist dis- 
tribution company in Amsterdam that is 
unequalled in size or scope anywhere else in 
the world, as well as to the painstaking efforts 
of film critic Annette Forster, who with Paul 
Verstraeten coordinated the festival. Cine- 
mien assisted in searches for obscure films, 
provided prints of new acquisitions in their 
collection, subtitled work, and coordinated 
theatrical runs with festival premieres. The 
dearth of lesbian films common to U.S. gay 
film festivals can no longer be blamed on an 
absence of work: the Amsterdam festival 
featured a substantial selection of both inde- 
pendent films and studio productions rarely 
screened in this country, such as Club des 
Femmes (France, 1933), Les Stances a Sophie 
(France, 1970), Another Way (Hungry, 1984), 
Fascination, by Irene Stage (Denmark, 1984), 
and the work of German directors Ulrike 
Ottinger, Elfi Mikesch, and Silke Grossman. 
Even Mddchen in Uniform (Germany, 1931) 
was shown, along with the 1958 remake and 
the Mexican version, Muchachas en Uniforme 
(1950). 

As this partial list indicates, the festival 
chose works that not only present gay charac- 
ters, but also those carrying particular 
meanings or suggesting interpretations specific 
to gay audiences. Anna und Elisabeth, for 
instance, has no lesbian characters, but 
concerns a wealthy woman confined to a 
wheelchair who becomes healed through her 
belief in the spiritual powers of a peasant girl. 
However, the intensity of the relationship 



between healer and healed is heightened by 
the use of close-up shots of the two women's 
faces in physical proximity, to the exclusion of 
all else within the frame. For contemporary 
lesbian viewers these images can be read as 
erotic, but the exaggerated, unnatural, or even 
demonic quality of the film can also be appre- 
ciated as "camp." The inclusion of this film in 
a gay and lesbian film festival enlarges the 
scope of gay cinema and contributes to an 
understanding of the ways gay film spectators 
create meaning. 

This type of interpretation of films that have 
special resonance for gay audiences necessarily 
includes the reevaluation of previously discred- 
ited Hollywood tragedies — the ones that end 
in suicide, heterosexual resolutions and other 
forms of denial — to retrieve the rare, poignant 
moments of sensuality these movies offer. And 
this analytic position challenges the more 
narrow emphasis on homosexual stereotypes 
and roles and possibilities for identification with 
gay characters. The conflict or disparity be- 
tween these two critical approaches — the conti- 
nental divide between European and U.S. gay 
criticism noted earlier — produced a palpable, if 
unspoken tension in discussions at the festival. 

This theoretical disparity and the un- 
fortunate decision to simultaneously schedule 
films appealing to women and to men — 
resulting in audiences segregated according to 
gender — were, however, the only causes for 
disappointment in Amsterdam. For the many 
video- and filmmakers present, the opportunity 
to meet and discuss work encouraged a genial 
and productive climate. Even when Monika 
Treut, codirector with Elfi Mikesch of 
Seduction: The Cruel Woman, risked con- 
troversy in her presentation of lesbian porn- 
ography, the opposition she encountered from 
anti-porn feminists at the Edinburgh Festival in 

1985 and the New York Gay Film Festival in 

1986 wasn't replayed. In Amsterdam, the dia- 
logue (conducted in just about everyone's 
second language) was more nuanced and sophis- 
ticated, since the Dutch women that packed the 
room were more interested in constructing alter- 
natives than hurling bricks. They called for a 











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critique of the function of lesbianism in main- 
stream pornography, insofar as it is used to 
control and define women's sexuality, while 
demanding more and better lesbian porn that 
would elaborate fantasies that speak to lesbian 
viewers. 

Richard Dyer's presentation on the American 
underground cinema offered a gay tour through 
the films of Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, Bar- 
bara Hammer, Andy Warhol, and others. As a 
historical and theoretical framework, he estab- 
lished relationships of U.S. underground cinema 
in the fifties to the Beat poets and, in the sixties, 
to the literature of urban street culture — the 
work of writers such as James Baldwin and 
John Rechy. According to Dyer, the Beats appro- 
priated aspects of the growing gay bar culture in 
their literature of revolt. And many underground 
films of the fifties utilized images of camp and 
machismo associated with the gay subculture 
and, through the influence of Beat poetry, ques- 
tioned and rejected fixed gender conventions. In 
the underground cinema of the sixties, homosex- 
uality became less of a departure from, and 
more a metaphor for, U.S. culture and the break- 
down of social codes. In this talk. Dyer present- 
ed research from his forthcoming book, which, 
he explained, examines underground gay films 
of the period — both avant-garde art cinema and 
pornography. 

The Amsterdam festival served a number of 
needs in the lesbian and gay media-making com- 
munity: a reconsideration of films that have con- 
tributed to shaping the gay subculture and the 
identities of many gay people; a chance to see 
these films in a context that emphasizes gay 
sensibilities at work and to see new work pro- 
duced by lesbian and gay video- and filmmakers 
that addresses gay experience and gay audien- 
ces; an environment that is not voyeuristic, 
where some common ground exists, and finally, 
an opportunity to establish an international com- 
munity that is often difficult to attain when one 
is working independently. The Amsterdam festi- 
val began to satisfy these needs, which is no 
small accomplishment. 

Andrea Weiss is an independent filmmaker 
living in New York. Her latest work is the 
documentary International Sweethearts of 
Rhythm. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



IN FOCUS 



DAYS OF MIRACLE AND WONDER: 
VIDEO TRENDS AT SMPTE '86 




The shape of things to 
come at SMPTE '86: a 
3/4" U-matic dwarfed by 
a new 19mm format D-l 
digital cassette. 

Photo: David lettner 



David Leitner 



For the merging film and video industries, there 
are two annual equipment trade shows that 
matter. Each spring the National Association of 
Broadcasters, a trade association, meets for a 
splashy week-long showcase of press releases, 
prototype unveilings, and new products. Glitz 
reigns and rumors fly: conventioneers return to 
their desks the following week fired-up with hot 
industry gossip. 

In the fall the Society of Motion Picture and 
Television Engineers, an engineering society 
that recommends standards, mounts an equip- 
ment exhibition coupled with a technical confer- 
ence. Production models of items shown as 
prototypes at NAB are announced, as well as 
innovations in film technology. At technical 
sessions inventors from around the world deliv- 
er papers detailing what's to come. Standards 
committees meet and debate, refining older tech- 
nical specifications and defining new ones for 



nascent technologies like film timecode, digital 
video, and High Definition Television (HDTV). 
Where NAB is a weathervane indicating momen- 
tary shifts in technology, SMPTE can be a 
weather satellite photographing continents and 
storm systems. Last October's SMPTE provided 
a particularly insightful overview of contro- 
versies shaping trends in both the industry and 
technology. 

Industry trends occupied SMPTE Engineering 
vice president Richard Streeter's opening 
remarks, "Is Standardization Obsolete?" Street- 
er asserted that the cost of standardization for 
manufacturers is not as high as the ultimate cost 
of making equipment that does not conform to a 
common, agreed upon standard. But, without a 
trace of irony, he then asked, "Is the pioneering 
done?" Evoking the spirit of Ray Dolby and the 
young, spirited design team that invented the 
videotape recorder at Ampex 30 years ago, 
Streeter expressed a fear that technological ad- 
venture on the high seas is a thing of the past, 
that things technological have grown too pat. 



too corporately determined. He noted that as 
broadcast technology has begun to mature, the 
number and nature of broadcast equipment man- 
ufacturers has declined. Some, like venerable 
RCA, have thrown in the towel to foreign com- 
petition; others, like Bosch and Ampex, have 
relinquished industry leadership and licensed 
the technology of others, creating de facto mar- 
ketplace standardization. 

On this ambivalent note Streeter handed the 
baton to Mark Sanders, Marketing and New 
Technology vice president at Ampex. who 
responded by challenging the industry to rein- 
vent itself. With an £lan reminiscent of the 
sixties, Sanders told the gathering of industry 
movers and shakers that innovators must be 
wanted in spite of being "unorthodox, undisci- 
plined mavericks." Citing a recent study, ho said 
that "80 percent of today's industry will under- 
go major change by the year 2000." and that 
those who do not follow the path of constant 
change are condemned to be followers "always 
playing catch-up." Successful firms, therefore, 



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are more likely those that "accommodate and 
nurture those mavericks." Sanders, like Streeter, 
called on SMPTE attendees to celebrate inven- 
tiveness as a form of pioneering and to embrace 
its expression in design and manufacturing. 

If industrial trends at SMPTE '86 bred uncer- 
tainty, technological trends were clear and un- 
mistakable. These times of lasers in the jungle 
have produced camcorders in the palm of a 
hand, not to mention digital TVs, VCRs, Walk- 
mans, watches, calculators, microwaves, person- 
al computers, and telephone answering ma- 
chines. The remarkable vitality of consumer 
electronics has spilled over into professional 
audio, video, and film: everything is smaller, 
lighter, more personal, less consumptive of 
power, more ergonomic, and more intelligent — 
i.e., digital and microprocessor-controlled. A 
particularly apt symbol of the consumerization 
of professional video technology is the paper- 
back dictionary-sized consumer camcorder with 
its wee solid-state CCD camera and 8mm video- 
tape recorder. Though not "professional," it 
neatly sums up the technical trends significant 
at SMPTE '86. 

□ 

Trend number one is an emphatic shift from 
analog recording to digital. Consumer 8mm 
video, for instance, provides two digital stereo 
audio tracks. 

Trend number two is the shift away from 
conventional medium-density iron oxide mag- 
netic tape coatings to a new generation of 
high-density coatings that can absorb larger 
signals. High density video and audiotape for- 
mulations include metal particle, metal evap- 
orated, small particle oxide, and barrium fer- 
rite. The 8mm camcorder, for instance, re- 
quires metal particle tape. Accompanying this 
trend is the development of thinner tape for 
longer running times and faster head-to-tape 
speeds. The new 19mm professional digital 
videotape format D-l employs a tape with a 
polyester base 13 microns thick, about l/100th 
the thickness of this paper. 
Trend number three is smaller, lighter, cas- 
sette-based formats that exploit narrower 
track widths, shorter wavelength recording 
techniques, and electronics at the expense of 
mechanics. The consumer 8mm camcorder 
embodies these design principles as does the 
cassette-based 19mm D-l digital format, 
which will someday replace reel-to-reel Type- 
C 1-inch. Regarding electronics supplanting 
mechanics, Ampex v.p. Sanders hinted that 
Ampex was developing a technique to elec- 
tronically scan the magnetic tracks on video- 
tape, which would make mechanical heads un- 
necessary. 

Trend number four is the reliance on Very 
Large Scale Intregrated circuit techniques to 
shrink entire boards of electronic components 
into thumbnail-sized microchips. The com- 
pactness of the consumer 8mm camcorder 
couldn't be achieved otherwise. The increased 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



use of VLSI in professional equipment is paving 
the way for various digital technologies to be 
built for less than their analog counterparts. 

These four trends in technology — digital re- 
cording, high density tape coatings, small cas- 
sette formats, and VSLI to shrink equipment 
size — dominated SMPTE '86, figuring prom- 
inently in technical papers and in the aisles of 
the equipment exhibition. Perhaps nowhere 
were these trends more pronounced yet so 
entangled in issues of standardization and indus- 
try cooperation than in the area of video for- 
mats. What follows, then, is a SMPTE '86 up- 
date on that particular confluence of industry 
and technology. 

□ 

Small Video Formats. 1/4-inch ENG has 
floundered. Bosch has withdrawn Quartercam 
from NTSC markets, leaving its commitment to 
the PAL version in question. At the same time 
Bosch has joined the 1/2-inch Betacam 
bandwagon and will now manufacture for the 
U.S. market under license from Sony. (By the 
way, Bosch isn't Bosch anymore. The German 
Bosch and the Dutch company Philips have 
merged their broadcast divisions into a new com- 
pany, Broadcast Television Systems or BTS, 
though they will maintain their individual identi- 
ties until NAB '87.) Professional ENG versions 
of 8mm also seem to be on hold at the moment, 
although SMPTE has formed a Small Format 
(8mm) Study Group. Notably, the only 8mm 
video gear at SMPTE '86 was Kodak's, which, 
with its systems approach and modular design — 
separate camera, recorder/player, and stereo 
tuner/timer — qualifies as semi-professional. 

Professional high-speed 1/2-inch. Al- 
though Sony's Betacam SP and Panasonic's M- 
II had been announced at the 1986 NAB in 
Dallas, the competition reached full heat in the 
fall. At SMPTE '86 Sony formally introduced 
the Betacam SP, calling it a "format extension" 
of the original Betacam introduced in 1981 and 
promising production models by NAB '87. In 
brief, the SP camcorder uses new metal particle 
tape to achieve a signal that, for the first time, 
truly matches and in some respects surpasses 
Type-C 1-inch. Per a Sony rep, the new tape 
will cost two to three times as much as the cur- 
rent product. Important to Sony's marketing 
strategy is the fact that Betacam SP equipment 
is compatible with some 28,000 Betacam units 
already in the field: old machines will play the 
new metal tape. 

Matsushita, for its part, got serious about the 
flagging fortunes of its M-format Recam cam- 
corder by forming a new division, Panasonic 
Broadcast Systems, and revamping the format 
as M-II. Like Betacam SP, M-II avails itself of 
metal particle tape, but unlike Betacam SP it 
is not compatible with its predecessor, the 
original M-format. Chrominance recording 
has been changed from frequency multi- 
plexing to time-compressed multiplexing a la 
Betacam, and the increased signal bandwidth 



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matches Betacam SP. (Dig another hole in the 
format graveyard.) M-II's superior performance 
was demonstrated at SMPTE '86 by means of a 
sixth-generation dub that revealed little sign of 
degradation. 

Both new 1/2-inch formats feature two new 
audio tracks in addition to the current two 
tracks. The two new tracks are not digital, but 
they are recorded as FM by helically-spinning 
heads adjacent to the video heads. As a result, 
M-II achieves an 80 db signal-to-noise ratio, 
while Betacam SP achieves 85 db. (Digital 
audio recording boasts 90 db.) Unfortunately, 
however, these new audio tracks can't be edited 
separately from the video — a major disappoint- 
ment. Also, both new 1/2-inch formats offer two 
cassette sizes for increased recording time. Beta- 
cam SP provides a 30-minute cassette for field 
use and a larger 90-minute cassette for studio 
purposes. The larger cassette is not intended for 
the camcorder and will not fit. M-II, which has 
a considerably slower tape speed than Betacam 
SP, 2.67 inches/sec. vs. 4.67 ips, surprisingly 
offers only a 20-minute field cassette instead of 
30- and a 90-minute studio cassette. 

Panasonic seems to have seized the market 
initiative with a field-ready M-II product line 
that includes a camcorder (with an Ikegami HL- 
95 camera front), field recorder/player (no time- 
base corrector), field editing system, and studio 
recorder/player. NBC spent $3.25-million on M- 
II gear by the end of 1986 and, despite rumors 
of kinks, is by all accounts infatuated with the 
equipment. NBC plans to purchase more M-II, 
phase out all 3/4-inch gear at its four owned and 
operated stations by the end of 1987, and com- 
pletely convert the network sports operation to 
M-II by early 1988 for the Olympics in Seoul. 
An NBC vice president even went so far as to 
predict that all program suppliers would be 
required to submit on M-II by the 1987 fall sea- 
son, and that the days of buying 1-inch ma- 
chines were over at NBC. JVC, incidentally, is 
part-owned by Matsushita and will be a second 
supplier of M-II equipment. 

Where does that leave Betacam SP? In the se- 
cond quarter of 1987 shipments are expected to 
news crews at Boston's WNEV, who will field 
test the first SPs in the U.S. A Sony rep at 
SMPTE said production camcorders, field re- 
corder/players, studio recorder/players and stud- 
io editing systems would be available by the 
third quarter. BTS (Bosch), Ampex, and Thom- 
son will also manufacture Betacam SP equip- 
ment under license from Sony. 

3/4-inch U-matic. This greying format will 
survive a while longer if Sony's improved "SP" 
catches on. The upgraded 3/4-inch SP format 
features across the board improvements in audio 
and video signals, due mainly to the implemen- 
tation of metal tape. Also, a gain of 20 db S/N 
in one of the weakest areas of 3/4-inch — 
sound — has been achieved by adding Dolby C 
noise reduction. Speaking of sound, Sony added 
non-standard digital sound capabilities to 1-inch 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



Type-C with the introduction of its BVH-2800 
series VTR. 

19mm Component Digital. Certainly the 
most significant debut at SMPTE '86 was the 
unveiling by Sony of its beautifully designed 
DVR-1000 Digital- VTR and DVPC-1000 Digit- 
al Signal Processor, the first commercial units to 
utilize the world-standard SMPTE/ EBU (Euro- 
pean Broadcasting Union) 19mm D-l compo- 
nent digital format. The DVR-1000 Digital- 
VTR resembles a 3/4-inch studio recorder with 
a colossal horizontal cassette slot. This is a tape 
transport that, in its SMPTE '86 configuration, 
sits atop the air conditioner-sized DVPC-1000, 
which handles signal processing. The DVR- 
1000 control panel features an orange gas plas- 
ma display that indicates functions via icons and 
"soft" buttons that can be programmed to con- 
trol various functions. 

The DVR-1000 Digital- VTR and DVPC-1000 
Signal Processor break ground everywhere. 
There is no generational signal loss and no need 
for the conventions of color framing and time- 
base correction — the Signal Processor, in effect, 
is a time-base corrector. There are four digital 
audio tracks that record a bandwidth from 20Hz 
to 20KHz (the full range of human hearing) at 
16 bits/sample in the "standard" mode and 20 
bits/sample in "hi-fi." In shuttle mode, a distinct 
picture is possible up to 40 times normal speed, 
although at that speed it has a weirdly beautiful, 
pointillistic texture. A singularly impressive 
achievement, perhaps vital to the success of the 
D-l format itself: the DVR-1000 Digital- VTR 
records all TV standards equally. There is no 
NTSC, PAL, and SECAM version. 

The D-l format uses cassettes for maximum 
protection against operator error. They come in 
three running times, 34-minute, 76-minute, and 
96-minute, and two physical sizes, the smaller 
six by ten-inch and the larger eight by 14.5- 
inch. Since the tape width is 19mm — virtually 
the same as 3/4-inch — the cassettes are approx- 
imately the same thickness as 3/4-inch cassettes. 
The tape formulation, however, is a special co- 
balt ferric oxide, and the polyester base is an in- 
credible 16 microns thick for the 34- and 76- 
minute cassettes. Even more astonishing, the 96- 
minute cassette uses a tape that is 13 microns 
and contains a mile of tape! Such extended tape 
lengths are necessary due to the huge size of the 
digital signal, which also dictates a head-to-tape 
writing speed of 81 m.p.h. At SMPTE '86 only 
the 34- and 76-minute cassettes were shown, 
since the incredible 96-minute cassette is still 
under development. 

HDTV. On the HDTV front, SMPTE '86 pro- 
vided little of substance. There was a smattering 
of new HDTV equipment on hand — Ikegami 
showed their HDTV Telecine Camera, the TKC- 
1125 (Rank-Cintel debuted an inherently super- 
ior HDTV Flying Spot Telecine a year earlier at 
SMPTE '85) — but the ongoing political impasse 
hovered overhead like a dark cloud over 
HDTVs future. 



This January, the NAB sponsored a field test 
in Washington, D.C., using CBS's WUSA 
broadcasting tower. They commandeered two 
channels and broadcast a huge HDTV signal to 
receiving sites a few miles away at NAB head- 
quarters, the Federal Communications Commis- 
sion, Capitol Hill, and a local department store. 
Congressional support was enlisted for the 1 125- 
line/60 Hz (i.e., 60 fields/sec.) HDTV system 
that Sony and NHK (Japanese Broadcasting) 
have advocated for the past several years and 
which SMPTE has lately endorsed. But Congres- 
sional endorsement is not the problem. 

For better or worse, last May in Geneva the 
CCIR (International Radio Consultative Com- 
mittee), the paramount world standard-setting 
body in radio and television, which was instru- 
mental in the adoption of the SMPTE/EBU 
19mm D-l standard, failed to vote on endorsing 
the Japanese 1125-line system as a world stan- 
dard. The CCIR intentionally avoided a vote 
because the 1 125-line system is not a product of 
consensus. Many European broadcasting authori- 
ties have objected to its key features. Since the 
CCIR convenes once every four years and will 
not vote again until 1990, this puts Japan, the 
U.S., and Canada in a bind. They can choose to 
go it alone with their own HDTV effort and 
thereby scuttle a once in a lifetime chance to 
create a world standard for HDTV or wait four 
years and, in the interim, incorporate the newer 
technology of the trends detailed above into a 
universal system. The Japanese, for one, have 
decided not to wait. 

Last summer, in the wake of CCIR, the Dutch 
Philips, German Bosch, French Thomson, and 
English Thorn/EMI companies, plus assorted 
others from 19 European nations pooled $180- 
million and formed the Eureka Project, a crash 
program to create specifications for a 1250-line, 
50 Hz (50 fields/sec.) HDTV system of their 
own by April 1987. Besides pride and the 
economic appeal of an all-European HDTV 
manufacturing process, their principle motiva- 
tion is that they are convinced that production in 
a 1250-line/50 Hz HDTV format could be read- 
ily converted to conventional 50 Hz PAL or 
SECAM for broadcasting, and that the proposed 
1 125-line/60 Hz HDTV would not easily permit 
this. They have a point. 



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MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



Why Christian 



Is Good TV 



Julia Lesage 



Editor's note: Julia Lesage and Trinh T. Minh-ha's articles in this 
issue continue a series of papers and transcribed talks delivered at 
ViewPoints: A Conference on Women. Culture, and Public Media held 
at Hunter College in New York City on November 8 and 9, 1986 [see 
our January/ February 1987 and April 1987 issues]. This national 
conference was independently organized by a committee of women 
involved in fdm, video, and photography (including The Independent 
editor Martha Gever and associate editor Renee Tajima), cosponsored 
by Women Make Movies and Hunter College Women's Studies 
Department, and funded by the New York State Council on the Arts 
and the New York Council on the Humanities. Trinh' s paper was 
delivered at the panel "Cracking the Media Mystique: Images and 
Politics," and Lesage's at "The Subject of Politics: Women and Right- 
Wing Media" panel. 

On the surface, the worst thing about Christian television seems to be its 
rigid anti-abortion stance and its institutional support for the political 
agenda of the New Right, especially for the contras. Many leftists and 
feminists label Christian television "right-wing" media and never watch 
it, or they do watch it and immediately reject it. However, an easy pejora- 
tive encourages intellectual laziness when it allows us to dislike a media 
phenomenon and not consider that phenomenon either respectfully or 
analytically. 

Both when viewing and when writing about television, it is useful to 
carry on an interior monologue noting TV's class and gender aspects. 
There is an implied hierarchy of value among genres that corresponds 
to our social hierarchy. For example, women have been identified as 
the primary viewers of soap operas and daytime television; men as 
watchers of sports. However, in ordinary conversation "sports" does 
not bear the negative connotation that "the soap opera" or "the game 
show" frequently do. In class terms, the news and public television 
serve people who finished high school. CBN (the Christian Broadcasting 



Network) with The 700 Club show, and the PTL (Praise the Lord) broad- 
casting network with The Jim and Tammy Bakker Show, are the white, 
working-class networks. 

Black Christian television, primarily black preaching and gospel 
singing, has a different relation to its regular viewers. Followers of 
national (white) religious broadcasting may see black evangelism as con- 
firmation of the lightness of their shared Christian faith, or they may 
dismiss black Christian television as demagogic (Jesse Jackson), crassly 
opportunistic (Reverend Ike), or just old-fashioned. Catholic television 
broadcasting has not gotten beyond an abysmal talking heads format with 
clerics and authorities telling viewers what to think, and there are few 
Jewish shows. In addition, there are many local and regional Christian 
stations and shows, broadcast primarily on cable TV. Here I will analyze 
mostly the national cable networks, CBN and PTL, and mostly their 
weekday shows, but I'll talk a little bit about the weekend preachers and 
a little about the gospel and a little about Jerry Falwell, who seems to be 
losing power and stands in the periphery. 
Christian evangelists, with wisdom accumulated from a populist preach- 
ing tradition, have a good sense of what audiences in a home environ- 
ment expect and want from the medium of television. And a backward 
stand on reproductive rights or foreign policy are not the worst things 
about Christian television. Worse yet are the widespread ideological 
assumptions — in this case, the assent to compulsory heterosexuality and 
xenophobia — that conform to television discourse in general in the U.S. 
A major task of ideology, on the unconscious level, is to signal and 
constantly define the traits of who is supposed to be the other and who 
is acceptable as one of us. The "us" targeted as a viewership for Christian 
TV is primarily white working-class. Thus, homophobia and racism are 
deep structuring principles in Christian television, only they are more 
visible to liberal middle-class viewers there than in the rest of the intel- 
lectual/communications apparatus. Intellectuals who like to watch the 
news may think that Christian broadcasting is the most acute locus of TV 
racism, if they notice how racist television is. Yet if we look at both the 
subject matter and the style of network news and then at Christian broad- 
casting, we would see the same kind of racism in each. 




Jimmy Swaggart: "Back about six months ago God told me, 
Take the crusades to other countries that have little opportunity 
to hear— at least on a large scale— the gospel of Jesus Christ, 
and I will give you a move of God that few have seen.' We've 
done that." 



"But when we did all this, our expenses went up about 30 or 35 
percent. It had to be. We had to have all kinds of equipment for 
television. But God told me to do it. I don't have a choice.... You 
don't have a choice either. I'm pleading with you to say yes. 
You can't say no." 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



THE BRUTE TAMED 

One of the major gratifications daytime Christian television offers is 
the melodramatic gratification, aimed at women in the home, which I 
call "the brute tamed." Everyday you can see men crying. They confess. 
They repent. They change. They become moral. They become family 
men. For many women, especially where the husband is spending his 
money on booze and going out with the boys, this vision of economic 
and familial sobriety is not only a pleasurable goal to imagine, its 
enactment would come about through the wife's moral force and would 
be an index of her social/personal control. 

In fact, in a lot of Christian working-class families this kind of "moral 
unity" is the goal. A wife may say to her husband, "Now, you have to 
come to church on Sunday with me and the kids." What this means is, 
"You'll come to church with me and the kids on Sunday, and you'll hand 
me your paycheck, and the community will see that we're a family to- 
gether." Many social and personal ideals cohere in this image. Seeing 
this scenario day after day offers the same kind of appeal, let's say, that 
the Women's Christian Temperance Union originally had in Chicago. 

Often the black preachers are openly critical of family politics, recog- 
nizing how alcoholism and male philandering weaken the community. 
Here are the words of Dr. Frederick K. C. Price, who told the Sunday 
audience of The Christian Family this: 

Sometimes men just take and take and take all the time. You'll tip a valet 
and a waitress, but she does more for you. Buy her a little something and 
make it something nice. 

You guys always say, "I gotta have time alone, spend time with the boys. 
Now, honey, hush." You just want a cook and sex machine. 

You could go out at night with mutual consent between the two of you. 
Don't go out jawing and then leaving her three hours alone, or saying 
you're going out for an hour and then coming back three hours later. You 
know, if you come back with a blonde hair on your coat, and even if it just 
blew off onto your coat, that's gonna cause a lot of bad fantasies in your 
house. 



A very common family pattern in my neighborhood, often among 
Latino and black families, is that the men just go out at night. They say 
they're going for an hour and then come in at four or five in the morning, 
maybe drunk. They usually haven't gone out with women but out with 
the boys. And they expect food to be prepared for them whenever it is 
that they are at home. That particular family drama — or melodrama — 
doesn't appear on soap operas, which deal with upper middle-class 
problems such as going to see your lawyer or therapist or partner in 
adultery in rich settings and in some very dramatic way. In soap operas, a 
middle-class version of the above family pattern does appear. The man 
will call home to say he's working late at the office or meeting a client 
for dinner. Then the narrative presents an episode in which he has a 
prearranged tryst with his "woman on the side." 

BODY LANGUAGE, SETS 

To analyze Christian television we must deal with real class issues. In my 
case, it is painful for me as a feminist to admit the class bias that we have 
projected onto others, even if we tried to avoid such a bias in our 
political programs and intellectual work. In the early part of the women's 
movement, especially the white feminist movement, we failed to 
acknowledge that there were different dress codes among us. By not 
wearing a girdle and by dressing in slacks and a shirt, I project a specific 
class identity, as do most of the white women at the Viewpoints Confer- 
ence — media-makers, critics, artists. We announce publicly that we are 
downwardly mobile, middle-class women, who can afford to dress in this 
very casual way. Most black women don't dress like this, nor do most 
trade union women, if they are gathering in public for a meeting. Many, 
if not most, women in the U.S. cherish a notion of dressing up in public 
or dressing up out of respect for other people. Blacks were forced to 
dress in rags during slavery; if lucky, perhaps they could dress in the 
masters' castoff finery for church services. They do not have a legacy of 
pride in dressing down. And if you look at the visual history of trade 
unions in the United States, photographs of strikes show the workers, 
both men and women, demonstating while wearing their best clothes. 




Jerry Falwell issues his "New Emancipation Proclamation" during 
his sermon on the Sunday morning Old Time Gospel Hour. 
"Without a doubt, abortion is the slavery ot the day in which we 
live. It's the issue that if we do not win it we do not deserve to 
survive." 



Falwell unveils the plans for his proposed headquarters ot a 
chain of Liberty Godparent Homes for unwed, pregnant women, 
to be built on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, 
Virginia: "I'd like my friends at home watching my television, I'd 
like you to call this toll free number and say, 'Jerry, I'll be a 
masterbuilder. I'll pledge $10,000.'" 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



When we see women as moderators or in the audience on Christian 
television, their self-presentation conveys their adherence to the ideal of 
dressing up in public. Before the moderators appeared on television, 
these women went to the beauty shop. They had their hair put up in 
rollers and sat under the dryer and then had it combed out and styled. To 
go out to a public event, they wear nylons and low heels, not spikes, and 
they use coordinated costume jewelry, very often a string of fake pearls 
and big earrings. They wear makeup — base, powder, blusher, lipstick, 
and a little mascara. Usually they have on a tailored skirt with a feminine 
suit jacket and dressy blouse, but never slacks, and I always see evidence 
of a girdle. Obviously I have not adopted that mode of dress, even for 
political purposes. But I understand that I give off very specific signals 
about my class position, as does everyone else. Just by looking at us, 
most people would know immediately that we feminist media women, 
especially the white women, have chosen to do nonalienated labor and be 
downwardly mobile economically. We don't look like women who are 
working on Wall Street, for example, and we don't look like women who 
have to dress up for a job. 

The uniform of jeans and a sweatshirt, worn by a woman over age 25 in 
public space, offers a statement to others. Other people "read" much 
about us visually. In fact, this standard dress code of the "feminist" is 
used as a pejorative icon on Christian television, where our image is 
often contrasted to the image of all other "normal" women. So even if 
we have very good reasons not to change our mode of dress, we should 
stop being naive about the image that we have always signalled — from 
the very inception of the feminist movement. 

Personally, I learn something about my own upbringing and rebellions 
by analyzing how Christian television plays off the Utopian aspects of 
working-class ideology, for example, the desire for respectability. To 
dress and act in an orderly way, to be personally neat and clean, and to 
have a house that is neat and clean signals to the community, "I am a re- 
spectable person. We are a respectable family." I rebelled against the 
stifling narrowness of seeing women's role primarily as the maintainer of 
the family members' and the furniture's "neatness." But I know, from 
my conflicts with my family, that physically and socially I publicly sig- 
nalled my rebellion, and that all the visible indices of my rebellion made 
my mother very distressed. 

On Christian television, many of the daytime programs have a living 
room set, and that set is usually furnished in classical, "old rich," good 
taste. It has more expensive furniture than any viewer could usually af- 
ford. The living room set evokes emotions associated with both Father 
and Mother. Only the riches a woman might get by virture of her father 
or husband's class status would allow her to have such a living room. Pat 
Robertson often uses such a place from which to speak to his public. In 
this sense, the set is patriarchal. 

However, a living room still represents the home, mom's turf. And in 
this space "witnesses" tell how their faith in Jesus let them be delivered 
from acute personal suffering, especially vices that destroyed their capac- 
ity for personal love and family responsibility. The woman who was 
raped can tell how she hated the child who reminded her of the rapist and 
how she overdosed on tranquilizers. The former convict can tell how he 
saw his mother, a prostitute, take in clients. The set, now often with a 
woman interviewer, becomes the site of deeply personal "sharing." 

Politicians in the U.S have always known to use such a set, often for a 
"fireside chat." This kind of image proclaims, "We're bringing public- 
space into your living room, and we're going to interpret it in an orderly 
way, so you can absorb it and it will be palatable to you." The upper-mid- 
dle-class living room set plays a central role in Christian television. With 
its Utopian, patriarchal cultural legitimacy and its "motherly" emotional 
appeal, it provides a richly associative image and establishes emotionally 
a certain mental "path." On a political level, this constant set facilitates 
the New Right's ability to interpret the public sphere for its viewers. The 
emotional shaping of the message, more than any explicit political con- 
tent, gives the right wing discourse presented by Christian television its 
ideological staying power. It is in this sense that I find Christian broad- 
casting "effective television," for it is so finely tuned to the emotions con- 




CBN News economic correspondent Bruce Page reports: "The 
Democrats now control both houses of Congress for the first time 
during the Reagan administration, and they're determined to 
flex their political muscle. And this may be the issue to do it: raise 
taxes." 

veyed by its iconography. 

Within Christian television itself, there are class differences in the 
targeted audience. If Pat Robertson's The 700 Club seems aimed at the 
lower-middle-class or the craft union level of the working-class, Jim and 
Tammy Bakker present themselves and their "world" as by and for down- 
home folk. Jim and Tammy have built a Christian theme park called 
Heritage USA, and the first thing they put up there to conduct their 
ministry was a high-tech broadcasting facility. If you think of it from the 
perspective of a working-class family, the notion of going to a theme 
park for a Christian vacation isn't so bad. The adults and older teenagers 
would have the intellectual prestige of studying, even if only the Bible. 
The smaller kids would not plague their parents to buy a lot of junk. 
They wouldn't see excessive alcohol consumed either, which means a lot 
to families on vacation. And each night there would be large scale 
entertainment, such as a variety show. 

Furthermore, if you go to the Christian theme park or if you go to any 
of the preachers and their big revivals — such as those of Jimmy 
Swaggart — you can gain not only the status of repenting but of getting on 
TV as you repent. People like being seen on TV, especially if they can 
gratify their superego and perform for the camera in the service of a 
higher moral cause (some forms ofjouissance, or extreme pleasure, such 
as being on the winning side at a sports event or getting saved, are more 
morally acceptable than others and thus likely to be seen on television 
over and over again; others, such as coming, are relegated to Qhe x-rated 
videocassette market). 

Furthermore, at the revivals, viewers see a wide variety of faces, 
physiognomies, weights, and body types. The people attending a relig- 
ious event dress up in public, but they still bear the traces of the whole 
variety of working-class people who are visually underrepresented on 
television. When working-class people watch soap operas, they see upper- 
middle-class characters. If white working-class viewers enjoy seeing 
their "own" on TV, they can do so constantly on Christian television. 

POLLUTION AND PURIFICATION RITUALS 

Christian television networks hold out to the white working-class a 
dream that they, via leaders such as Falwell and Robertson, have a class 
potential for action and power: "You people sitting in your living rooms, 
send me your widow's mite, and we'll convert it into political power." 
That's one of the hopes people have clung to in the Reagan era. Christian 
television particularly exploits women's isolation in the home and 
promises, "Send me your money, and I'll help you out right there with 
your problems at home." Again, as with Hitler's fascism, a regressive 
political platform can be built upon a Utopian, working-class sensibility. 

Such a Utopian sensibility, which most of us would reject as disasterous 
in its consequences, can be analyzed in anthropological terms. Applying 
Mary Douglas' notions of pollution in Purity and Danger, it is useful to 
look first at our own Utopian ideals. In other words, many of us dislike 
Reagan, dislike the fascism that we see around us, dislike urban pollution 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



and nuclear pollution. We interpret these things as a kind of pollution in 
our society, and we often even use the word "pollution." When we ima- 
gine our ideal revolutionary culture, we imagine our society rid of this, 
purified of that — e.g., society would be better if we could drink clean 
water and had clean air. In anthropological terms these goals which we 
assent to represent the larger social purification rituals of the feminist 
movement and the left. When Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed, "I 
have a dream," he evoked the purity of children's race-free conscious- 
ness as an ideal, and the general assent to that ideal gave the civil rights 
movement, and now more broadly what we would call the progressive 
movement, its cohesiveness. 

Very different ideals of social purity and different wars on social pollu- 
tion inform Christian television and give its audience political cohesive- 
ness. On Christian television, the pollution is drugs, the breakdown of the 
family. AIDS and gayness. Even more than with its resolute opposition 
to abortion, the right maintains consensus about the evils of homosexu- 
ality. Christian television gives testimonials about "badness" over and 
over again. What motivates this dominant narrative strategy is the convic- 
tion that both society and individuals can go from pollution to purifi- 
cation. Then, because it is the Reagan era. Christians can found a new 
conservative social order. If we are honest, we would acknowledge that 
we too need such an emotional/social ritual. If I put into the category of 
"badness" fascism, Reagan, urban pollution, acid rain — i.e., put lots of 
things we don't like in there — then we could say we wanted our society 
to be purified of those things in the same way that the right wing wants 
to purify society of its list of bad things, and we would seek out cultural 
events that assured us of cultural cohesion around our goals. 

GENDER AND FAMILY ROLES 

I'm fascinated by The Jim and Tammy Bakker Show and other offerings 
that can be seen on daytime Christian television, because daytime Chris- 
tian television has its own vision of women's turf. Women-oriented fare 
here looks more working-class than, let's say, it does on the game show, 
which tantalizes viewers with expensive consumer items, or on soap oper- 
as, where the characters' adventures are enacted in an incredibly upper- 
middle-class environment. Daytime Christian television offers fashion 
shows, diet shows with health tips, even aerobics in modest dress. Fur- 
thermore, such television gives a specific pitch to anyone suffering from 
loneliness. For example. Oral Roberts asks elderly women to contribute 
their widow's mite as he makes them feel that they are also contributing 
to a community. 

Television in general, indeed, all the mass media surrounding us — TV, 
advertising, and film — doesn't suffer gender role confusion, even in a 
film about the transvestite or the transsexual or the lesbian mother or the 
gay man with AIDS. Women and children will always appear with clear- 
ly defined feminine and childlike roles and so will doctors or cops with 
clearly defined masculine roles. These folk who face no gender role con- 
fusion in the narrative indicate that the rest of the world is comfortably 
ensconced in its role status, even if a story may deal with some topic that 
points to gender confusion. In Christian television, especially daytime 
television, women's gender roles are merely set out as given and reflect 
working-class notions of ideal femininity. 

But daytime Christian television does set out to correct roles gone 
astray and it does so overtly. If gender roles can be taken for granted, 
family roles cannot. The family is in a mess, and in the Christian narra- 
tive (informing its nonfiction as well as fiction programs), family roles 
get straightened out over and over again. Of course, the soap opera also 
offers the narrative pleasure of straightening out family role confusion, 
but as Christian television acknowledges the breakdown of the family 
and ongoing family tensions, it also offers the reassuring pleasure of see- 
ing either women as moral force or the Bible as moral force. In other 
words, it promises that there will be some force intervening to pull every- 
one back together. 

The right shares a consensus about gayness as pollution. If we want to 
fight the right on gender issues, we have to speak out for an explicitly 
pro-homosexual position whenever the subject of AIDS is discussed. We 




Pat Robertson editorializes: "The problem we're facing is that 
everybody wants a little something. Over 50 percent get 
something from the federal government. And that means that 
there's got to be a political will someplace in America to say, 
'We'll give up a little of ours, if you give up a little of yours.'... 
You've got to say, 'All right, we believe that the strength of 
America is greater than my little problem.'... We've got to make 
it on our own in the private sector." 

can't let this discussion slip into an easy homophobia. However, among 
politically conservative women, abortion is a disputed issue. It is not 
openly disputed ideologically, but whenever it comes up for a referen- 
dum, in the secrecy of the voting booth, people vote against such refer- 
enda. Abortion itself has not gone away, and we know that many women 
get abortions secretly for themselves and their daughters. Since the first 
right to go in the Reagan era was health care for poor women, free abor- 
tion disappeared as an active political issue, so the fight for reproductive 
rights must be joined to the fight for adequate health care under capital- 
ism. We should keep that in mind very clearly when we see the constant 
diatribe against abortion on Christian television. 

On the other hand the ERA is not a disputed issue, either on Christian 
television or among white working-class housewives. In October 1986, 1 
was fascinated to see The 700 Club's depiction of the ERA referendum 
coming up in Vermont. Many of the ERA supporters were shown to look 
like me — a heavy woman who wears slacks but no girdle. In icono- 
graphic terms, that was obviously intended to be an insulting image of a 
feminist. Other speakers in support of the ERA were shown as very 
young women (too young to lead) while the women fighting the ERA 
were middle-aged. These women wore suits and were nicely dressed by 
Christian TV standards. And the report used people-on-the-street inter- 
views, which indicated, as always happens on The 700 Club, "We know 
there are other views out there." The interviews spoke for and against the 
ERA. But then we see a man interviewed about ERA who says, "I don't 
know." The male authority figure's voice comes back later in the pro- 
gram and indicates, "You just don't know what would happen if we 
passed ERA." The fear of future gender role confusion was enough to 
motivate voters to vote no. 

RACISM 

Television in the U.S. is even more racist than it is sexist. The blacks 
who get on television are tidy, de-ethnicized, and upwardly mobile, or 
they were formerly untidy and are now repentant, or they are just plain 
vicious and chaotic. The news presents most foreigners as vicious and 
chaotic — e.g., "illegal aliens." 

The most fascinating black person on "white folks'" Christian televi- 
sion is the moderator on The 700 Club, Ben Kinchlow. Kinchlow wears 
suits that would put an executive in the Fortune top 100 to shame. Every- 
day he comes on with the most elaborate and expensive three-piece suit, 
with ties that must have cost SI 50 each. It's really fascinating, because 
we can always find this kind of figure emerging on television, a person 
fitting into the middle-class mold so easily who just happens to have a 
black skin. We saw this elsewhere when publishers just put black faces 
but not black culture in Dick and Jane readers in response to community 
protests about racism in grade school primers. 

Christian television tries and convicts us on the level of imagery more 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



than on the level of argumentation. In this way, it uses the connotative 
aspects of imagery in a specifically "law and order" kind of way. The 
700 Club, which often uses a news format, presents images of demonstra- 
tions, gay liberation, and youth that look like images we might use in our 
own media. Yet if a shot of two people of the same sex hugging is posi- 
tive in our media, its very appearance on Christian television indicates 
"social chaos deriving from moral chaos." Similarly, various aspects of 
youth culture, often rock music lyrics, become examples of "satanism 
today." 

Here we must add all the "feed the poor" images of Africa. Advocating 
"humanitarianism" cuts short the discussion of basic human rights, espec- 
ially for black people, and it refuses an analysis of causes, especially 
when the cause of world hunger is imperialism. Humanitarianism will al- 
ways treat the symptoms of "tragic suffering" but never effect a cure. 
Humanitarianism is an ideological construct that eases the consciences of 
the rich, but we do not always identify it in its various manifestations: 
e.g., the March of Dimes, Jerry's kids, Bob Geldof, EST's hunger pro- 
ject. 

Beyond calling for humanitarian aid for starving Africans, the images 
of Africa and the "do good" message of the television missionaries hide 
the specific ties that many fundamentalist religious groups working in the 
third world have to the CIA. Not only do these groups receive material 
support from the U.S. government, but in the field they preach a "depoliti- 
cizing" religion. I saw this in Nicaragua where "Render unto Caesar what 
is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's" becomes just "Turn to 
God." There is an ideological battle within the religious rhetoric, for 
while liberation theology in the third world is preaching that the poor 




Co-host Denuda Soderman and guests on the living room set for 
The 700 Club: "Still ahead, adopting children: the obstacles, 
hardships, and answers." 

have a religious right and duty to live as whole people, the evangelist 
groups preach removing one's attention from earthly concerns. 

At the same time that I denounce these groups' ties to U.S. foreign pol- 
icy interests, I also must point out that they have had television shows 
playing in many areas throughout the world for years, and have thought 
out many issues involved in creating effective cross-cultural media. For 
example, Jimmy Swaggart preaches around the world, and his show 
often comes to us from a stadium in South America filled with thousands 
of people. He is a fine actor and puts on a great show. He preaches 
damnation and gives a colorful picture of the world's evils, he builds up 
a sweat and loosens his tie, and then he prays as God's grace gently falls 
upon the repentant. Most important, when he preaches in South America, 
he always has a Spanish-speaking preacher on stage doing simultaneous 
translation, and that preacher is as good an actor as he is. 

Such respect for both performance and linguistic compentency should 
teach those of us who do solidarity media in the U.S. a lesson. Consider 
all the voiceovers you have heard in solidarity films and all the slide 
shows you've gone to where someone tells you in their own everyday 
speech, "And then this woman told me...." Many times when we do a 
voiceover, we just plunk down a translation in a "reading," not an 
"acting," voice. For the sake of convenience, at the editing stage either 



we or one of our friends read that translation into a microphone. It is hard 
to conduct tryouts and rehearse actors so as to approximate the tone and 
flavor of the original speaker. We often do not think about issues of 
translation in as respectful a way as does, let's say, The PTL Club, which 
I've seen in South America. The Spanish version of the program does not 
assume its viewers are facile readers and would stay with a television pro- 
gram with subtitles (i.e., middle-class viewers). It uses excellently acted 
voiceovers in Spanish. Christian television pays attention to the details of 
"television translation." 

THE 700 CLUB 

The 700 Club has a magazine format, showing different types of mater- 
ial, including different types of prayer sessions, in its daily show, which 
is broadcast several times a day and on several different cable networks. 
It often has segments of reportage that look like the news. Making 
"news," for example, was Rock Hudson's deathbed conversion by one of 
his fundamentalist nurses. Similarly, in the "Walker spy story" in Octo- 
ber 1987, the Walkers were turned in by one of their daughters, a woman 
who was a 700 Club viewer. In another instance, reportage that looked 
like the news and Pat Robertson's own commentary explained at length 
the problems faced by a man named Otwell in Texas, who had made na- 
tional news when it was discovered that he had physically abused the 
students at his Baptist boys' school, a place to which judges also regular- 
ly remanded delinquent youth for reform. Robertson took time to valor- 
ize this case because, in fact, one of the political victories of the religious 
Right in certain court cases has been around issues of education and reli- 
gious freedom. He criticized the degree to which the state controls the 
education of children. 

By my standards, Robertson's time on the air is dull. Far livelier are the 
reportage segments that are a mixture of news and soap opera. Often a 
guest in the studio, the upper-middle-class living room set, will tell a 
story about their past. The story will be illustrated with location shooting, 
the guest seen outdoors, line drawings and sketches (like a courtroom 
scene on the news, sketched by "our court reporter"), and dramatic 
reenactments. For example, a Latino man dressed in a suit tells that he 
had been an addict and pusher. We see scenes of him in prison, where a 
visitor comes to read him the Bible, "dialogue" with him, and help him 
to Jesus. Usually, the studio witness will say, "And at that point, I was 
free of drugs (or alchohol or gambling)." Although Christian television 
does not usually advocate seeing a psychologist, it still pays its cultural 
debt to Freud by giving explanations of childhood trauma to account for 
current vice. For example, the ex-convict's father had been a pusher who 
led his son into the world of drugs. 

The dramatic reenactment is obviously theatrical but is simply inserted 
into the witness' story. Its theatricality and the contrast between two 
types of discourse are never commented upon. As a woman tells how she 
was on drugs, you see a shot of a woman in a bathroom putting pills in 
her mouth. In a sense, mainstream news uses a similar manipulative tac- 
tic. Its visual images do no more than illustrate an authoritative commen- 
tary and add emotional spice. And mainstream news is less overtly thea- 
trical. When I see somebody on The 700 Club telling their story along 
with a dramatic reenactment of them going to the medicine cabinet for 
pills, it seems a more honest iconographic representation than what the 
news offers. Our hegemonic discourse is Manichean, interpreting social 
process in terms of good and evil and not in terms of interacting contra- 
dictions. In this particular case, we can see in the similarity of sound/ 
image relations across genres that there is little difference between melo- 
drama and the news. 

The same program that depicted the struggle around the ERA in Ver- 
mont had as its other "news" segments a report on Halloween as satanic 
(including modem day witches, who look in physical appearance like the 
"feminist" type I described earlier, and an interview with Z. Budapest, a 
self-proclaimed feminist witch). To contrast and offer an image of a 
more ideal woman, a financial advisor on Wall Street told how she left a 
Bible out on her desk when she met with clients. This was followed with 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



retarded because they were good workers. 

The "news" here on The 700 Club sets out political issues mixed in with 
personal issues mixed in with soap opera, but it deals with things we 
don't otherwise see on television. In other words, the retarded do vote 
and do work, but some of us on the left don't even think of the retarded 
as worthy citizens to appeal to; they rarely enter the space of our 
imagination. Yet having no psychic space to think about something, ei- 
ther in the media or in the mind, is the principle ideological mechanism 
in our culture that maintains sexism and racism and all the other -isms. 
Here, the political motivation of the segment seemed to underscore that 
the genial Christian employer would have his workers' gratitude and 
confidence and thus could deliver up x number of votes. If we look at 
other 700 Club segments, we'll find many similar "political" tactics but 
usually mixed in with Utopian elements. What other space do the retard- 
ed have on television? 

PERSUASION TACTICS 

I have written extensively on Brecht and Godard and appreciate argu- 
ments about the mass media's emotional seductiveness. But it's time for 
us to reconsider television's emotional appeal, for what, in fact, would it 
mean to make activist media without such appeal? We can see that Chris- 
tian television has developed, at great expense, a fine emotional "hook." 
Since every TV preacher gives a pitch for money, it is useful to analyze 
these pitches for their persuasion tactics. First of all, when the money's 
collected, people always get something, such as a cassette tape, back in 
the mail. Most significantly, the person's name goes on the mailing list. 
(According to a friend who sends out occasionally for literature, you'll 
be pulled from The 700 Club's list if they don't hear from you several 
times a year.) 

Furthermore, the phone bank service (people will pray with you) is sup- 
ported on screen by a narrative device that I have seen only on Christian 
television. Every so often the preacher will deliver an incredibly intense 
direct address to the TV viewers by talking straight to the camera: "Close 
your eyes. Pray with me. Jesus is with you. Kneel by your television set." 
Collapsing distance like this presumes the material reality of TV 
preaching and saving souls over the airwaves. In fact, people must be at 
home alone if they follow these instructions, because I cannot imagine 
suddenly kneeling and praying in front of other family members. So the 
preacher makes a calculated appeal to the lonely. Such instructions are 
often followed with words like, "Call me, and tell me how you felt. 
There'll be someone here to talk to you." The phone call is just to talk to 
a warm and caring voice and tell how you felt. But then, of course, you 
will be asked for money. (There was a skirmish for about a year during 
which time toll-free numbers were dropped from the most popular shows 
such as Falwell's because some gay newspapers had printed the toll-free 
numbers with suggestions that readers call in and give false pledges. One 
enterprising radical even had his computer continuously calling and 
hanging up. I do not know about either the legal or logistical issues but 





"One day, just after shooting up, Jim pulled over to the roadside 
and asked the Lord to help him. That night, alone in his 
room, he watched The 700 Club and found the answer to 
his prayer." 



Ben Kinchlow: "Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus for 
a miraculous intervention in the life of Danielle. We bind up the 
angel of death, and we speak to that tumor in the name of 
Jesus. We command to begin to dissolve now.. .in Jesus' name." 

have observed that most Christian television programs have toll-free 
numbers back again.) 

Television spectacle has the voice of patriarchy behind it. Male experts 
intone the ads; the news relies on the Pentagon. Ted Koppel and Phil 
Donahue play the fair-minded liberal dads. Christian television has, as 
one of its internal contradictions, a perpetual conflict between Daddies, 
and that conflict is often enacted in the individual Daddy's TV style. Pat 
Robertson is on the political ascendency, and his media is polished. He's 
leaving his role as a preacher to become much more the news moderator, 
a sort of Ted Koppel type, but he still leads his Bible seminars. Jerry 
Falwell is on the decline nationally and has gone back to be the head of 
an evangelical university in his old hometown in Virginia. Jim Bakker 
regularly complains about being turned in to the authorities by other 
preachers for tax evasion, and his and Tammy's ever expanding theme 
park is always deep in debt. 

Both the pitches for money and the pitches for salvation are shaped by 
similar rhetorical devices. The preachers use repetition, a regular ca- 
dence, and a certain kind of rhetorical speaking voice. In a pattern which 
is familiar to both teachers of the retarded and women trying to teach 
men about sexism, the preachers set out the tasks for the audience in 
terms of very small steps. Secretaries deal with bosses this way, as do par- 
ents with children, so the tone is not uncommon to us. It just does not 
seem very adult. Yet to present a task in terms of very small steps, ones 
almost effortlessly accomplished, is a useful tactic for progressive direct 
mail campaigns. Any time you send out a mailing, you should enclose 
three postcards addressed to Congresspeople or the President which are 
all filled out, both front and back. People only have to sign their name, 
put on a stamp, and mail the card. The result is that anybody who has ta- 
ken this kind of small step toward your cause thereafter identifies with it. 
Greenpeace taught me this tactic. A mailing from Greenpeace always in- 
cludes postcards. This powerful persuasion tactic of asking someone to 
do something that takes no effort at all assumes that even the lazy can be 
stimulated to commitment to an organized effort. 

To analyze one of Jimmy Swaggart's sermons in detail will indicate the 
kind of showmanship and rhetorical mastery which revivalist preachers 
have passed on through generations and which they are now effectively 
applying to television. In a sermon in a soccer stadium in Buenos Aires, 
he first gave the crowd the details of the venality that led to damnation, 
then he told them that no institution could save them, only the Lord's 
sweet grace raining upon them. At that point he said to them as they were 
all crying and weeping, "Now raise your hand...." Here was the first 
small step; it's easy to raise your hand. Next, still in the imperative mode 
(you give imperatives like this to children and distraught sick people). 
Swaggart said, "Now step down to the front...." People had a distance to 
go to get down from the stands into the soccer stadium's playing field. 
"Now step down to the front, so the whole world can know how many 
have come to Jesus..." The people going down to the preacher's platform 
knew that they would be on television. They were crying, and the) held 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



those hands up, and they kept walking down there in a crowd. Then 
Swaggart said, "We're waiting for you. God is waiting for you. Come on 
right now. You're all washed clean, free of darkness." 

At that point, Swaggart addressed the camera to speak to us at home: 
"It's for you. Your name is on this service. I want you on TV to pray 
with me." Then, "Repeat." As he encouraged viewers to repeat some 
phrase, even if only mentally, it moved them to take a step to follow his 
line. Similarly Jerry Falwell said, in a verbal series that reflected the 
increasing commitment he desired from his viewers, "Write me a letter. 
Join our prayer. Give me a vote of confidence. Send a check." 

EMOTION 

Ever since the high-culture lovers of the Frankfurt School condemned 
mass culture as capitalist and manipulative, leftists have found it conveni- 
ent to condemn first Hollywood film and later television. But a lot of us 
have that set going all the time. I like television because it comes into my 
home, and I can turn it on and have the sense of voices talking even if I 
plan to be in another room. As Elayne Rapping says in The Looking 
Glass World ofNonfiction TV, "The social role of television, in its broad- 
est sense, is to provide that lost sense of community integrity in a frag- 
mented world." Rapping asserts that we now use television to create this 
communal sense synthetically because of capitalist economic structures. 
However, I've also seen a good amount of communist television, and I'm 
not sure that the communists know any better what it is that people want 
out of television. I think that people use television like a household 
friend. They want it to deliver up emotion. People like television's effect 
of live reality. They like the immediacy of speech. In Christian 
television, such as The PTL Club, every so often a segue reveals how 
carefully calculated the "reality effect" is. In other words, you may see 
people sitting around the living room set jawing about the topic of the 
day, whatever it was, maybe incest, maybe films. Then one of them will 
say, "That is the bliss of coming to Jesus. And now so and so will sing to 
you about the bliss of coming to Jesus." Only a sophisticated media 
viewer will realize, when such segues come, how calculated this all 
was — the move from live speech to the spectacle of singing. 

Jim Bakker capitalizes on the immediacy of live presentation. He and 
Tammy love to go around and show you the latest building going up in 
Heritage USA. Jim likes to walk in front of a camera person doing hand- 
held work to show you backstage life. Now, for me as a woman viewer, I 
find it fascinating to see how the backstage work is managed and run 
mostly by women: women doing makeup and women running 
computers. It's a visual symbol of how women keep these big media 
empires going. 

Wbat's most effective about Christian television is the same thing that 
is most effective about network news. It has little to do with the delivery 
of information and much more to do with a kind of right brain, emotional 
structuring of how to feel about social issues. We soon forget a 
program's details. What remains are the kind of symbolic events and the 
feelings which adhere to them which we experience in dreams. In this 
way, for example, Christian television structures how to think about abor- 
tions. Many working-class women who mouth pro-life ideology have had 
abortions, their daughters have had abortions and the Christian parents 
have paid for it. But the television program gives a dream structure in 



which to dream your abortion forever after. 

And it gives a dream structure in which to dream terrorism. And the 
dream structure in which to dream communism. And the dream image of 
the few acceptable, tidy, middle-class, upwardly mobile, well-coiffed, 
well-dressed blacks who are the "worthy" blacks fit to associate with. 
And there's the dream structure of constant homophobia. Those struc- 
tures remain long after the specific subject matter of the programs has 
changed completely. 

Most significantly, in terms of how these structures are implanted and 
the kinds of structures implanted, there's no difference betwen Christian 
television, public television, the news, sports and anything else on TV. 
They all function to reinforce dominant ideology through television's 
emotional power. Think, for example, about the dream structure of xeno- 
phobia, fear of the stranger. The Arabs are chaotic or terrorists, the Japan- 
ese will dominate our economy, we are flooded with illegal aliens, Africa 
and Haiti and gays are the source of AIDS. In the United States at the 
end of empire the government and the mass media share the same xeno- 
phobia, fear of the other, fear of losing control at the center of power. 

Media activists, radicals, and feminists probably pay so little attention 
to Christian television because there we are depicted as the other. White 
feminists are immediately identified as the other — as I mentioned before 
— by our dress, and by almost nothing else. Our class position is identi- 
fied by our external signs, and we can be flashed on Christian television 
as the "they" not worthy of knowing. Our image, especially when we are 
grouped together in public at a demonstration, promotes fear. 

Television has a power to manipulate the connotative aspects of an 
image for emotional impact. And it resounds with all the emotional tones 
of the human voice, like a non-musical opera. People turn to television 
for that emotion, which I understand when I leave the TV playing while I 
do other things in the house. A radical media aesthetic may reject that 
aspect of television communication and reception, but what would be 
left? If we are honest, we will not lay the blame for the structures of man- 
ipulation at the doorsteps of Christian television producers, for, on the 
whole, they merely understand the parameters of their medium very 
well. 

Since I have been making media with Nicaraguan video artists who 
want to have their viewers both understand and love the revolution, I 
neither want to make video nor participate in a political project without 
intense emotional engagement. In this age of information explosion, 
everyone has access to analyses of racism, sexism, and imperialism. It's 
available in the media around us. The task for radicals is to make media, 
especially television, that inspires people to want to know the truth and to 
want to analyze their own social reality, and, along with that understand- 
ing, to be inspired to act for social change. Horace called it utile dulci.. 
"Mingle the useful with the sweet," he instructed, so that people will 
want to learn. Both we and Christian television seek to inspire people to 
act, but we also want people to leam, and to learn in a way that breaks 
down the category of the other in an ever expanding way. 

Julia Lesage is a videomaker, director of the tape Las Nicas, and coeditor 
o/Jump Cut. 

© Julia Lesage 1987 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



QUESTIONS OF 
IMAGES ANDPOLITICS 






Still frame from 

Reossemblage, 
by Trinh T. Minh-ha. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Trinh T. Minh-ha 



Let me start by asking myself: What do I expect from a film? What I 
expect is borne out by what I work at bringing forth in my films. The 
films I make, in other words, are made to contribute to the body of film 
works I like and would like to see. 

Through the way it is made, the way it relates to its subject, as well as 
through the viewers' receptions, I expect that it solicits my critical abili- 
ties and sharpens my awareness of how ideological patriarchy and hege- 
mony work. 



The commercial and ideological habits 
of our society favor narrative with as 
definite a closure as possible once the 
narration is consumed one can throw 
it away and move on to buy another one 

clear linear entirely digestible 



There is more and more a need to make film politically (as differ- 
entiated from making political films). We are moving here from the 
making of a genre of film to the making of a wide range of genres of 
film in which the making itself is political. Since women have for 
decades worked hard at widening the definition of "political," since 
there is no subject that is "apolitical" or too narrow, but only narrow, 
apolitical representations of subjects, a film does not necessarily need 
to attack governmental institutions and personalities to be "political." 
Different realms and levels of institutional values govern our daily 
lives. It is therefore in working at shaking any system of values, 
starting with the system of cinematic values on which its politics is 

MAY 1987 



entirely dependent, that a politically-made film takes on its full 
significance. 



never installed within transgression 
never dwells elsewhere 



Patriarchy and hegemony. Not really two, not one either. My history. 
my story, is the history of the First World/Third World, dominant/ 
oppressed, man/woman relationship. When speaking about the Master. 
I am necessarily speaking about both Him and the West. Patriarchy 
and hegemony. From orthodox to progressive patriarchy, from direct 
colonization to indirect, subtly pervasive hegemony, things have been 
much refined, but the road is still long and the fight still goes on. 



It is thrilling to think — to know that for any act 
of mine, I shall get twice as much praise or twice 
as much blame. It is quite exciting to hold the center 
of the national stage, with the spectators not 
knowing whether to laugh or to weep 

—Zora Neale Hurston 



Hegemony is most difficult to deal with because it does not really 
spare any of us. Hegemony is established to the extent that the world 
view of the rulers is also the world view of the ruled. It calls attention 
to the routine structures of everyday thought, down to common sense 
itself. In dealing with hegemony, we are not only challenging the 
dominance of Western cultures, but also their identities as unified 
cultures. In other words, we call attention to the fact that there is a 
Third World in every First World and vice-versa. The master is made 

THE INDEPENDENT 21 







■ 1M 




to recognize that his culture is neither homogeneous nor monolithic, 
that he is just an other among others. 



Still frame from Reassemblage, by Trinh T. Minh-ha. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



this audience is an assumption that seems to ignore that needs are made 
and audiences are built. What is ideological is often confused with what 
is natural — or biological, as often implied in women's context. The 
media system as it exists may be most efficient for reaching the audience 
desired, but it allows little direct input from the audience into the creative 
process (critics and citizen groups are not defined as part of the audience, 
for example). 

A responsible work today seems to me above all as one that shows, on 
the one hand, a political commitment and an ideological lucidity, and is, 
on the other hand, interrogative by nature, instead of being merely 
prescriptive. In other words, a work that involves her story in history; a 
work that acknowledges the difference between lived experience and 
representation; a work that is careful not to turn a struggle into an object 
of consumption and requires that responsibility be assumed by the maker 
as well as by the audience, without whose participation no solution 
emerges, for no solution exists as a given. 

The logic of reaching "everybody" often encourages a levelling of 
differences — a minimum of elements that might offend the imaginary 
average viewer, and a standardization of content and expectations. 

Apartheid precludes any contact with people of different 
races which might undermine the assumption of essential 
difference. 

— Vincent Crapanzano 



One's sense of self is always mediated by the 
image one has of the other. (I have asked myself 
at times whether a superficial knowledge of the 
other, in terms of some stereotype, is not a way 
of preserving a superficial image of oneself). 

— Vincent Crapanzano 



What every feminist, politically-made film unavoidably faces is at once: 
1. the position of the filmmaker, 2. the cinematic reality, and 3. the 
viewers' readings. A film, in other words, is a site that sets into play a 
number of subjectivities — those of the filmmaker, the filmed subjects, 
and the viewers (including here those who have the means or are in a 
position to circulate, expose, and disseminate the films). 



The stereotyped quiet, obedient, conforming modes of 
Japanese behavior clashed with white expectations of 
being a motivated, independent, ambitious thinker. 
When I was with whites, I worried about talking loud enough; 
when I was with Japanese, I worried about talking too loud. 

— Joanne Harumi Sechi 



Walking erect and speaking in an inaudible voice, I have 
tried to turn myself American-feminine. Chinese 
communication was loud, public. Only sick people 
had to whisper. 

— Maxine Hong Kingston 



The assumption that the audience already exists, that it is a given, and 
that the filmmaker has to gear her making towards the so-called needs of 



Working against this levelling of differences is, also, resisting that very 
notion of difference, which defined in the Master's terms, always resorts 
to the simplicity of essences. Divide and conquer has for centuries been 
his creed, his formula of success. But a different terrain of consciousness 
is being explored for some time now. A terrain in which clear-cut 
divisions and dualistic oppositions such as counter-cinema versus 
Hollywood, science versus art, documentary versus fiction, objectivity 
versus subjectivity, masculine versus feminine may serve as departure 
points for analytical purpose, but are no longer satisfactory, if not entire- 
ly untenable to the critical mind. 



What does present a challenge is an organization that 
consists either in close association or in alliance of black, 
white, Indian and Coloured. Such a body constitutes a 
negation of the Afrikaans' theory of separateness, 
their medieval clannishness. 

— Ezekiel Mphahlele 

□ 

I have often been asked about what some viewers call the "lack of 
conflicts" in my films. Psychological conflict is often equated with 
substance and depth. Conflicts in Western contexts often serve to define 
identities. My suggestion to this so-called lack is: Let difference replace 
conflict. Difference as understood in many feminist and non-Western 
contexts, difference as foregrounded in my film work, is not opposed to 
sameness, nor synonymous with separateness. Difference, in other 
words, does not necessarily give rise to separatism. There are differences 
as well as similarities within the concept of difference. One can further 
say that difference is not what makes conflict. It is beyond and alongside 
conflict. This is where confusion often arises and where the challenge 
can be issued. Many of us still hold on to the concept of difference not as 
a tool of creativity — to question multiple forms of repression and 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



dominance — but as a tool of segregation — to exert power on the basis on 
racial and sexual essences. The apartheid-type of difference. 



difference, yes, but difference 

within the border of your homeland, they say 

White rule and the policy of ethnic divisions 



Let me point to a few examples of practices of such a notion of 
difference. 

The positioning of voices in film. In documentary practice, for example, 
we are used to hearing either a unified voiceover, or a string of opposing, 
clashing views from witnesses which is organized so as to bring out 
objectively the so-called two sides of an event. So, either in unification 
or in opposition. In one of my films, Naked Spaces, I use three different 
voices to bring out three modes of informing. The voices are different, 
but not opposed to each other, and this is precisely where a number of 
viewers have reading problems. Some of us tend to consume the three as 
one because we are trained to not hearing how voices are positioned and 
to not having to deal with difference other than as opposition. 

The use of silence. On the one hand, we face the danger of inscribing 
femininity as absence, as lapse and blank in rejecting the importance of 
the act of enunciation. On the other hand, we understand the necessity to 
place women on the side of negativity (Kristeva) and to work in 
"undertones" (Irigaray) in our attempts at undermining patriarchal 
systems of values. Silence is so commonly set in opposition with speech. 
Silence as a will not to say or a will to unsay, a language of its own, has 
barely been explored. 

The Veil. (As I stated elsewhere), if the act of unveiling has a liberating 
potential, so does the act of veiling. It all depends on the context in 
which such act is carried out, or more precisely, on how and where 
women see dominance. Difference should neither be defined by the 
dominant sex nor by the dominant culture. So that when women decide 
to lift the veil, one can say that they do so in defiance of their men's 
oppressive right to their bodies; but when they decide to keep or to put 
back on the veil they once took off, they may do so to reappropriate their 
space or to claim anew difference, in defiance of genderless hegemonic 
standardization. (One can easily apply the metaphor of the veil here to 
filmmaking.) 

□ 

Making films from a different stance supposes 1. a re-structuring of 
experience and a possible rupture with patriarchal filmic codes and 





Still frame from Reassemblage, by Trinh T. Minh-ha. 

Courtesy filmmaker 

conventions; 2. a difference in naming — the use of familiar words and 
images, and of familiar techniques in contexts whose effect is to 
displace, expand or change their preconceived, hegemonically accepted 
meanings; 3. a difference in conceiving "depth," "development," or even 
"process" (processes within processes are, for example, not quite the 
same as a process or several linear processes); 4. a difference in under- 
standing rhythms and repetitions — repetitions that never reproduce nor 
lead to the same ("an other among others" as mentioned earlier); 5. a 
difference in cuts, pauses, pacing, silence; 6. a difference, finally, in 
defining what is "cinematic" and what is not. 

The relationship between images and words should render visible and 
audible the "cracks" (which have always been there; nothing new...) of a 
filmic language that usually works at glueing things together as smoothly 
as possible, banishing thereby all reflections, supporting an ideology that 
keeps the workings of its own language as invisible as possible, 
mystifying hereby filmmaking, stifling criticism, and generating 
complacency among both makers and viewers. 

Working with differences requires that one faces one's own limits so as 
to avoid indulging in them, taking them for someone else's limits; so as 
to assume one's capacity and responsibility as subject working at 
modifying these limits. The patriarchal conception of difference, as we 
have seen together, relies heavily on biological essences. In refusing such 
a contextualization of difference, we have to remain aware of the 
necessary dialectics of closure and openness. If, in breaking with 
patriarchal closures, feminism leads us to a series of musts and must- 
nots, then this only leads us to other closures. And these closures will 
then have to be re-opened again so that we can keep on growing and 
modifying the limits in which we tend to settle down. 

Difference is not otherness. And while otherness has its laws and 
interdictions, difference always implies the interdependency of these two- 
sided feminist gestures: that of affirming "I am like you" while pointing 
insistently to the difference, and that of reminding "I am different" while 
unsettling every definition of otherness arrived at. 

Trinh T. Minh-ha is a writer, composer, and filmmaker who currently 
teaches cinema at San Francisco State University. Her filmic work 
includes Reassemblage and Naked Spaces - Living Is Round. 

© 1987 Trinh T. Minh-ha 



Still frame from Naked Spaces - Living Is Round, 
by Trinh T. Minh-ha. 

Courtesy Women Make Movies 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



FESTIVALS 



PACIFIC PICTURESQUE: 

THE HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 




Bayan Ko director 
Lino Brocka led 
the contingent of 
new Filippino 
filmmakers to the 
Hawaii 

International Film 
Festival and 
delivered the 
keynote address. 

Courtesy Asian Cine-Vision 



Caroll Blue 



When the Hawaii International Film Festival 
gets underway in December, the gentle and 
relaxing Hawaiian ambience provides main- 
land U.S. filmmakers a pleasant respite from 
mainland winters and Asian-Pacific filmmak- 
ers the chance to show their films to western 
audiences. Simply because the festival is plan- 
ned to promote dialogue between diverse 
cultures, unexpected interactions usually occur 
between the two groups. The festival's ongoing 
theme, "Strangers When We Meet," coincides 
with the mission of the Institute of Culture 
and Communications, where the event has 
been housed for seven years. This institute is 
one of four making up the East- West Center, 
established in 1960 by the U.S. government to 
bring together people from the U.S., Asia, and 
the Pacific to study and create solutions to 
problems of change — social, economic, cultur- 
al — as the interdependence between these 
countries increases. 

Film as art and as a social and cultural 
factor are taken seriously as a means to pro- 
mote cross-cultural understanding between 
the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region — from 
Iran, Afghanistan, China, Korea, and Japan 
through Indo-China to Australia, New Zea- 
land, and the Pacific Islands. The East-West 
Center Award, the festival's only prize, goes 
to the film that best supports the goal of inter- 



cultural understanding. This year's award 
went to Euthana Mukdasnit's Butterfly and 
Flower, a young boy's coming of age story that 
is the first Thai film to focus on the Moslem 
religion. But every film invited embodies this 
overall humanistic theme. 

Regarding the treatment of visiting film- 
makers, the typical festival logic seemed to 
prevail. Each invited filmmaker is matched 
with a festival host who plans a special dinner 
and/or a reception, accompanies you on a 
tour, and attends your screening; one host fam- 
ily provided a furnished apartment to a film- 
maker during her stay in Honolulu. And each 
filmmaker is given a customized schedule of 
events and packets of passes to events, along 
with invitations to receptions, parties, and 
informal gatherings practically every night of 
the week. 

At the HLFF, East and West indeed meet — 
through films, filmmakers, scholars, artists, 
journalists, and other film festival directors, as 
well as the various audiences attracted to 
screenings. In 1986 attendance topped 50,000, 
counting those at the main Oahu screenings 
and tours of film programs to neighboring 
islands. The films selected and the issues they 
embrace are introduced in several imaginative 
ways — fhematically, through retrospective pro- 
grams, in seminars, symposiums, and work- 
shops, benefits and special showcases. For the 
most part, independent, noncommerical films 
constituted the vast majority of the past year's 



42 feature films, 73 documentaries, and 12 short 
films, and provided the topics for seminars in 
the busy schedule. However, a serious nod was 
also given to Hollywood-style commercial 
films. These were featured at some of the 
festival's central events — the closing night 
benefit (Crimes of the Heart), a huge festival 
ball (with guests like Phyllis Diller, Sally 
Kellerman, Jack Lord, and Sashi Kapoor) that 
honored director Hal Roach (Laurel and Hardy 
and Our Gang), and an "American Comedy 
Seminar" featuring Roach, Colin Higgins (Nine 
to Five, Out on a Limb) and writer Harry 
Shearer (Martin Mull Presents the History of 
White People in America and This Is Spinal 
Tap), in addition to a screening of the American 
Film Institute's recently restored version of Lost 
Horizon. 

Every year, the festival highlights several 
topics. In 1986, these included comedy, Aus- 
tralian cinema, and Pacific Islands films, 
which were extensively explored and well- 
conceived. For instance, the comedy track 
featured a television comedy retrospective, a 
seminar on producing comedy television spe- 
cials, a series on Chinatown and U.S. film 
comedy, five Japanese humorous short films, a 
Humor in Cinema series featuring 21 feature 
films (including Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have 
It; Nadia Tass' Malcolm, and Yojiro Takita's 
Comic Magazine), and a four-day symposium 
with -scholarly papers on cross-cultural studies 
of humor in China, Japan, India, Korea, the 
Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, Australia, 
and the U.S. 

The Pacific Islands film series represented 
the festival's effort to bring unknown regional 
filmmakers to a wider public. The majority of 
the films in this section dealt with issues of 
native peoples' land rights and the cultural im- 
perialism of outside powers, often the United 
States. A retrospective of the work of Australian 
documentary filmmaker Dennis O'Rourke was 
shown within this series. 

U.S. independent producers — and Asian- 
American cinema in particular — was similar- 
ly well-showcased at the 1986 HLFF: Steven 
Okazaki's Living on Tokyo Time premiered 
on the festival's opening night. Other screen- 
ings in the festival's schedule included Beacon 
Hill Boys (Hayaskak/Mochizuki/Satake Blau- 
velt). East of Occidental (Maria Gargiulo and 
Lucy Ostrander), Jazz Is My Native Language 
(Renee Cho). Made in China (Lisa Hsia), The 
New Puritans (Tenzing Sonam and Ritu 
Sarim), and Yuki Shmoda (John Esaki). 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



HIFF's emphasis on cross-cultural commu- 
nication is so strong that its does not lend 
itself well to being a marketplace similar to 
the U.S. Film Festival (for independent 
features) or the American Film and Video 
Festival (for independent documentaries). San 
Francisco filmmaker Loni Ding, who has parti- 
cipated in the HIFF, remarked, however, that 
independents with specialized cultural inter- 
ests sympathetic to the Pacific Rim may be 
able to patch together some financing avail- 
able from the island states. 

There's yet another remarkable aspect of 
this festival. In the past seven years, director 
Jeannette Paulson has managed to attract an 
overwhelming list of corporate and individual 
donors — financial, in-kind, volunteers — so 
practically every screening and seminar in the 
program is free of charge to the public. This 
enables the festival to sponsor free receptions 
and free transportation for free screenings at 
12 theaters on Oahu. (A rumor circulated, 
though, that HIFF was pressured by outside 
interests to prevent the showing of O'Rourke's 
Half-Life, an indictment against the U.S. gov- 
ernment hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall 
Islands and the subsequent use of the natives 
as experimental guinea pigs. Whether or not 



these rumors were accurate is unclear, but 
what the incident reveals is the underlying 
tension that may be brewing as HIFF begins 
to grow in size and scope and the shape of 
future relationships with its corporate and 
individual donors.) The festival's largesse 
creates a special atmosphere for dialogue and 
cultural exchanges to occur. Extensive media 
coverage is also included in this impressive 
package. 

The most noticeable oversights on the part 
of festival organizers became evident when 
the festival dealt with films not made in 
35mm or 16mm. Raymond Red, a Philippine 
super 8 filmmaker experienced great difficulty 
screening his films. Robert Weide, a PBS 
comedy specials producer, had problems with 
video equipment at a large number of his 
screenings. And, although documentary films 
made up the bulk of the schedule, they seemed 
to draw smaller audiences than those for dra- 
matic films. 

I left Honolulu with the impression that I'd 
seen something of the future world. Now, 
when I think about myself as a black film- 
maker working in the U.S., I am aware of 
being situated within a world with diverse 
neighbors. This awareness occurred only at 



HIFF as I watched the Pacific-Rim — the in- 
ner workings of its people and their issues — 
revealed before my eyes in celluloid at 24 
frames per second. 

Carroll Blue is an assistant professor of tele- 
communications and film at San Diego State 
University and is a documentary filmmaker. 
Two of her films, Varnette's World: A Study of 
a Young Artist and Conversations with Roy 
DeCarava have been shown nationally on PBS 
and received major festival awards. 



HIFF dates: Nov. 29-Dec. 6. Deadline: June 1. 
Selected films reflect a "humanistic perspective" of 
the lives & intercultural relationships between 
people of the US, Asia & the Pacific. 1986 judges 
included Susan Sontag, Sashi Kapoor, Bill Bennett, 
Nei Kawarabata & Lino Brocka, who was also the 
keynote speaker. Following the fest's run on Oahu, 
it travels to Kauai, Maui, Lanai & Moloka. 1/2", 
Beta, 3/4" & 16mm accepted for preview; final 
format 16mm or 3/4". No entry fee. Contact: 
Jeanette Paulson, coordinator, HIFF, East West 
Center, 1777 East-West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96848; 
(808) 944-7666. 



South Carolina Ertm Office 
'"SDr^Transcends Star W*rs 



SATELLITE TELECONFERENCE ON 

FEATURE FILM FINANCING AND 

PRODUCTION • MAY 9, 1987 

A unique day-long live teleconference between 
Columbia, SC and Atlanta on financing and producing 
independent features, linking the investment/finan- 
cial community and media production community 
with a national audience to inform, and stimulate 
regional production. A first of a kind cooperation 
between two Film Offices ( South Carolina and 
Georgia), two media arts centers, (SC Arts 
Commission Media Arts Center and IMAGE), two 
PBS stations (SCETV and GPTV), and two film 
festivals (Charleston and Atlanta). 






Panelists include Spike Lee/Monty Ross 
(SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT), Donna Deitch 
(DESERT HEARTS), Earl Owensby (EO 

Corporation), David Picker (Columbia Pictures) 
and other producers and investment specialists. 

This special event is available to all PBS and 
other earth stations via satel- 
lite. For information, contact 
your PBS station or the SC 
Film Office, and see what our 
film industry has to offer. 

*Southern Development Initiative 



^ISouth 



® 



I Carolina 
IFilm 



3H Office 



South Carolina Film Office, P.O. Box 927, Columbia. 
SC 29202, Phone 803-734-1400 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compilea by Kathryn Bowser. Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement & since 
some details change faster than we do, 
we recommend that you contact the 
festival for further information before 
sending prints or tapes. If your 
experience differs from our account, 
please let us know so we can improve 
our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Cindy Competition, November, Los Angeles. The 
Assn. of Visual Communicators (AVC), a national 
nonprofit org. of film & video professionals, first 
mounted this competition in 1959 w/ a small number 
of industrial films; it now annually showcases "some 
of the best audiovisual productions in the non- 
theatrical industry." Over 800 entries vied last year in 
18 main categories reflecting current subject areas & 
media formats, incl. television info, PR, ecology, 
education, docs, music/fashion videos, interactive vid- 
eodisc, sales/marketing & technical/artistic craft dis- 
played in other cats, (writing, visual effects, produc- 
tion design, photography, talent). Awards are plaques. 
Entry fees: $70 members, $95 nonmembers, student 
fees 50% reg. fee. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", interactive 
videodisc levels I, II, III, slides, 16/35mm filmstrips. 
Deadline: June 5. Contact: James F. Griffith, AVC, 
900 Palm Ave., Suite B, S. Pasadena, CA 91030; 
(818)441-2274. 

Columbus International Film Festival. Oct. 28-29, 
Ohio. Now in its 35th year & one of the longest run- 
ning fests in the US, this competition accepts post-'85 
doc & feature entries in the areas of art & culture, incl. 
animated, experimental, fiction, fine arts, humor, per- 
forming arts; industrial; education; health & medicine; 
social studies; religion/ethics & travel. Each cat. has 
its own judge, many of whom have judged for the fest 
for many yrs. No cash awards presented; statuettes & 
plaques are incentives & are for cats. incl. best of fest, 
innovation, screenwriting. All entrants receive certifi- 
cate of honorable mention. A "media of print" cat. is 
open to posters, brochures & reviews pertaining to 
film or video. Entry fees are steep, from $70-205; the 
fest is supported by entry fees & duplication of statu- 
ettes. All shipping fees are the responsibility of the 
filmmaker. Chris statuette winners may apply for entry 
in the Academy Awards via recommendation from the 
sponsoring Columbus Film Council. Last yr over 500 
entries received & 50 chosen for awards, incl. Com- 
puter Magic, by Colyer DuPont, Something in the 
Basement, by Victor Salva & The Reel Florida, by 
Walter J. Klein. In past, foreign entries received from 
Canada, England, Australia, Japan & Germany. 
Formats: 16mm & 1/2". Deadline: July 15. Contact: 
Nancy Maxwell, Film Council of Columbus, 1229 W. 
Third Ave., Columbus, OH 43212; (614) 291-2149. 

Denver International Film Festival, Oct. 8-15, 
Colorado. This growing celebration, now in its 10th 
year, attracts a large number of filmmakers, film 
celebs & film critics. Last year more than 90 films 
from 20 countries were shown at sold out screenings, 
featuring films like Hour of the Star, Betty Blue, 




River's Edge & Down by Law. New Am. Cinema & 
Doc sections, in particular, showcased works by U.S. 
independents, including Ronee Blakely's / Played It 
for You, Mark Romanek's Static, Ross McElwee's 
■ Sherman's March, Victoria Schutz' Holy Terror, 
Matthew Patrick's Grafitti, Nancy Kelly's Cowgirls: 
Portraits of American Ranch Women, Vivienne 
Verdon-Roe'slVowe« — For America, For the 
World, Brigitte Berman's Artie Shaw: Time Is All 
You've Got & Robert Mugge's Saxophone Colossus, 
which premiered. Shorts incl. Rhonda Richard's Seer 
of Seers, Jane Aaron's Set in Motion & Michelle 
MahrefsXidu. Fest annually organizes tributes; last yr 
Rod Steiger, Bertrand Tavernier, Jean-Jacques Beneix 
& Elem Klimov, head of Congress of Soviet Film- 
makers, were feted & fest hosted evenings w/ 
Canadian director Lea Pool, Mexican filmmaker Mar- 
cela Fernandez Violante, Elliott Gould & Lou Gossett. 
Entries accepted btwn June 1 & Aug. 15. Send 
detailed synopsis & description of work before submit- 
ting film so fest can advise on appropriateness. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Contact: Ron Henderson/ 
Forrest Ceisol, Denver Int'l Film Festival, 999 18th 
St., Suite 247, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 298-8223. 

Intercom, October, Chicago. Produced by Michael 
Kutza through Cinema Chicago, which also organizes 
Chicago Film Festival. 23rd edition of this festival 
accepts sponsored industrial productions & is one of 
the oldest int'l industrial film fests in the US. Com- 
petitive industrial & informational cats, cover 
spectrum of topics, incl. sales, training, PR, energy, 
arts, sciences & medicine. About 150 industry profes- 
sionals act as judges. Last yr 50 films/videos/media 
presentations accepted for awards out of 900 entries. 
Winning entries presented during Chicago Film Fest, 
held this yr from Oct. 22-Nov. 8. Top awards are Gold 
& Silver Hugos to winning prods in each format: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", slides, 35mm filmstrips, 
multimedia, multi-image transfered to film/video; 
produced in prior yr. Entry fees: film $85, video $80. 
Deadline: May 30. Contact: Christine Mroz, Intercom 
87, 415 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60610; (312) 
644-3400. 



The documentary Directed by William Wyler, 
directed by Aviva Slesin, premiered last 
year at the New York Film Festival. 

Courtesy the Film Society of Lincoln Center 

Marin County National Film & Video Competition, 
July 1-5, San Rafael, California. Annually program- 
med at Marin County Fair & Expo, attended by 
crowds approaching 70,000, this fest awards cash 
prizes in cats, of ind. film or video (up to $1000 & 
ribbon); animated film or video (up to $900 & ribbon) 
& student film (up to $800 & ribbon), w/ up to 3 
honorable mentions in each of these 6 classes. Be- 
cause of audience's diversity, films & tapes should be 
suitable for children. Fest also reserves right to screen 
finalists' films on local/regional cable or broadcast 
TV, w/ remuneration being proportionately distributed 
among the filmmakers. Judges this year incl. Tim 
Blaskovitch, San Francisco State Univ. Film Dept.; 
Helen Caswell, Adolph Gasser Film Co.; Joan Safa, 
KQED; David Bolt, Bay Area Video Coalition; JoAnn 
Kelly, Video Free America & Ray Telles, KQED. 
Films & tapes must have been completed after Jan. 
'86. Format: 16mm, 3/4", running time 30 mins. max. 
Entry fee: $10. Deadline: May 29. Contact: 17th 
Annual Marin County National Film & Video Compe- 
tition, Fairgrounds, San Rafael, CA 94903; (415) 499- 
6400. 

Mill Valley Film Festival & Videofest. Oct. 9-15, 
California. This invitational noncompetitive fest will 
celebrate its 10th anniv. this yr. Has history of present- 
ing acclaimed int'l films & large number of US ind. 
films. 55 features & docs from 17 countries rounded 
out last yr's program, which also incl. seminars w/ 
concentration on issues in ind. filmmaking & tributes 
to Australian director Peter Weir, animator Shamus 
Culhane. Sterling Hayden & animation/special effects 
production company Colossal Pictures. A 2-day video 
section presents new works in several genres. Jim 
Jarmusch's Down by Law & Tim Hunter's River's 
Edge had their West Coast premieres; US premieres of 
foreign films included Suzana Amaral's Hour of the 
Star, Raul de la Torres' Pobre Mariposa, Darrel 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



Roodt's Place of Weeping & Huang Jain Zong's A 
Good Woman. Other US ind. films showcased includ- 
ed Mark Romanek'sS/aft'c, Ross McE\wee' s Sherman' s 
March, Michael Blackwood's A Composer's Notes: 
Philip Glass & the Making of an Opera, Will Roberts' 
American Rebel, Victor Fridman's Argentina: The 
Broken Silence, Robert Mugge's Cool Runnings: The 
Reggae Movie, Kevin Reynolds' Fandango, Lauren 
Lazin's Flapper Story, Richard Sabatte's The Last 
Chance & David Weismann's Beauties without a 
Cause. Other featured films incl. Jean-Jacques 
Beineix' Betty Blue, Alain Cavalier's Therese, Leon 
Marr's Dancing in the Dark & Jiri Menzel's My Sweet 
Little Village. Mill Valley is assoc. w/ debuting Sing- 
apore Film Fest as sister festival. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 1/2", 3/4". Deadline: June 30. Contact: Rita 
Cahill, director, Mill Valley Film Festival & Video- 
fest, 80 Lomita Dr., Suite 20, Mill Valley, CA 94941; 
(415) 383-5256. 

New York Film Festival, Sept. 25-Oct. 1 1 , New York. 
The Film Society of Lincoln Center will celebrate its 
25th yr of presenting this noncompetitive & very well- 
publicized fest. Films selected by program committee 
which this year incl. fest director Richard Roud & 
critics Richard Corliss, David Denby, Carrie Rickey & 
David Kehr. Films accepted in dramatic, doc, ani- 
mated & experimental cats., from those shown at other 
festivals during previous year or outstanding new 
productions. All films must be US premieres, w/ no 
prior public, theatrical, or commercial exhibition or 
distribution. Last yr feature films from 10 countries 
were screened. US ind. work tended to be represented 
by shorts, incl. Anita Thacher's Loose Corner, Scott 
Laster's Honky-Tonk Bud, Michael Sciulli/Melissa 
White's Quest: A Long Ray's Journey into Light, Ruth 
Charny's Girls in Suits at Lunch, Jane Aaron's Set in 
Motion & Chuck Workman's Precious Images. Doc. 
features incl. Directed by William Wyler, by Aviva 
Slesin; International Sweethearts of Rhythm, by Greta 
Schiller & Andrea Weiss & Isaac in America, by 
Amram Novak. Formats: 35mm, 16mm; preselection 
on 3/4". Deadline: mid-July. Contact: Marian Masone, 
Film Society of Lincoln Center, 140 W. 65th St., New 
York, NY 10023; (212) 877-1800. 

Telluride Film Festival. Sept. 4-7, Colorado. An 
intimate but prestigious fest premiering many impor- 
tant new films. Also features tributes, retrospectives & 
special programs showcasing rare historic works. No 
publicity precedes program, which is usually sold out 
by July on strength of its reputation. Major industry 
reps, several distribs & large contingent of film buffs 
make up a substantial part of the bicoastal audience, 
which usually numbers about 1500. Most features are 
invited, previewed by the organizers at Cannes, or 
chosen through recommendations by known filmmak- 
ers & professionals. About 50 selected. Shorts welcom- 
ed for prescreening. While there is a small possibility 
that unsolicited work may be selected, codirector 
Stella Pence welcomes questions from ind. filmmakers 
on selection criteria. Filmmakers must be present for 
the screening of their films; fest covers housing costs. 
Last yr's fest premiered several major features, incl. 
Fielder Cook's Seize the Day, Lizzie Borden's 
Working Girls, David Lynch's Blue Velvet & Paul 
Cox's Cactus. US premieres incl. Alain Cavalier's 
Therese, Andrei Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice & Zhang 
Luanxin's Sacrificed Woman. The program also featur- 
ed shorts by Jane Aaron, David Ehrlich & Stan Brak- 
hage & series of films which were banned in Poland. 
Telluride is in a beautiful setting in southwestern Colo- 



rado near glacial valley surrounded by mountain 
peaks. Feature, doc & short films of any subject or 
length are prescreened from June 1-Aug. 1. Small fee 
to cover postage & handling may be charged. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Contact: Stella Pence, Telluride Film 
Festival, National Film Preserve, Box Bl 156, 
Hanover, NH 03755; (603) 643-1255. 

Uptown Short Film& VideoContest. July, New York. 
This cable channel features independent cinema, clas- 
sics, foreign films, cult favorites & NY cable pre- 
mieres. For 2nd yr, it is cosponsoring contest w/ short 
film distrib Coe Films & MasterColor Transfer in 
conjunction w/ broadcast tribute to MoMA/Film So- 
ciety of Lincoln Center's New Directors/New Films, in 
order to encourage ind. filmmaking. Cash prizes range 
from $100-500, w/ the winning entries also having a 
guaranteed showing on Uptown, optional distribution 
contract w/ Coe Film Associates & film-to-tape 
transfers. Entries must be 30 min. or less & produced 
within the 1 8 mos. prior to March 1 . Panel of judges 
will include prominent members of the film/video 
industry. Last yr's winners were Hard Metal's Disease, 
by Jon Alpert; The Locust, by Paul Holzman; Not Just 
Garbage, by Julie Ackert & Czechs & Balances, by 
Debra Epstein. All winners have press screenings. 
Entry fee: S10 ($5 for Uptown subscribers). Format: 
3/4", 1/2". Deadline: June 5. Contact: Gerri Warren/ 
Debra Wells, Uptown's Short Film & Video Contest, 
c/o Paragon Cable, 5120 B'way, New York, NY 
10034; (212) 304-3000. 

FOREIGN 

Cork International Film Festival, Sept. 25-Oct. 4, 
Ireland. 32nd annual edition of this fest incl. in its 
aims the presentation of new trends in filmmaking & 
best of contemporary world cinema. '86 fest incl. 
wealth of US entries. Director Mick Hannigan is very 
interested in continuing this programming. Entries last 
year incl. Eugene Corr's Desert Bloom, J. P. Somer- 
saulter's Donna Rosebud, David Sutherland's Jack 
Levine: Feast of Pure Reason, Susanna Munoz/ 
Lourdes Portillo's Las Madres de la Plaza Mayo, Carol 
Langer's Radium City, Mark Romanek's Static, Cork 
Marcheschi/Robert Schwartz' Survivors: The Blues 
Today, Chris Cain's That Was Then, This Is Now, 
David Ehrlich's Dissipative Fantasies, Maureen Sel- 
wood's The Rug & Lucy Winer/Paula deKoenigsburg/ 
Claudette Charbonneau's Rate It X. Cats.: features, 
shorts (under 30 mins), student films, docs, animation; 
special video section inaugurated last yr. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4". Films must have been pro- 
duced in the 12 mos. prior to fest. Competitition 
section for shorts only. Deadline: June 30. Contact: 
Michael Hannigan/Theo Dorgan, directors, Cork Int'l 
Film Festival, Triskel Arts Center, Tobin Street, Cork, 
Ireland; tel: (021) 27171 1/275944; telex 75390. 

Deauville Festival of American Films. Sept. 3-14, 
France. Primarily celebration of Hollywood features, 
valued by US majors as important launching point for 
French/European release strategies, this major fest, 
held in a Normandy coastal resort town, attracts film 
stars, studio heads, fest directors, film directors, local 
& national French pols & extensive media. Recently 
the festival began sidebar incl. French films w/ some 
US connection. While fest focuses on major studio 
productions, reps are also interested in increasing ind. 
films incl. in the program. Screenings last yr, in addi- 
tion to such films as Alien & Top Gun. incl. Peter 
Wang's A Great Wall. Sondra Locke's Ratboy & Bill 



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MAY 1987 



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Sherwood's Parting Glances. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. 
Deadline: through July. Contact: Deauville Celebra- 
tion of American Film. 33 Ave. Mac-Mahon, 75017 
Paris, France. 

Jornada de Cinema da B ahia/Latin American Film & 
Video Festival, September. Brazil. Salvador, the capi- 
tal of Bahia. hosts 16th Jornada de Cinema da Bahia & 
3rd Latin American Film Festival. A 35mm & 16mm 
doc competion for Latin American films runs in tan- 
dem w/ various film & video sections. Last yr's fest 
incl. large retrospective of work by Joris Ivens & retro- 
spective of Latin American cartoons; another section 
was dedicated to 50th anniv. of Spanish Civil War. A 
concurrent int'l ind. film & video market features short- 
& medium-length cultural films, feature-length docs & 
socio-cultural videos, particularly from 3rd world 
countries but also open to alternative works from else- 
where. Deadline: July 15 (market July 30). Contact: 
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Jornada de Cinema da 
Bahia, Rua Araujo Pinho 32-Canela, 40.0000 Salvador 
Bahia, Brazil; tel: (071) 237-1429 (fest); FAPEX, Av. 
Ademar de Barros S/N, Pavilhao 2-Ondina, 40.000 
Salvador, Bahia. Brazil (market). 

Mystfest: International Festival of Mystery 
Films, June 22-30, Italy. This year marks the 8th edi- 
tion of this competitive fest for suspense films, held in 
Cattolica on Italy's Adriatic coast. Last yr's top prize 
went to Serge Letoy's The Fourth Power, based on the 
deliberations of jury headed by Claude Chabrol & 
incl. the Times' David Robinson & US writer Stuart 
Kaminsky. Director Irene Bignardi, the first woman 
director of an Italian fest, pulled together program 
featuring retrospective of 1 3 films based on novels by 
Cornell Woolrich & incl. US entries Black Moon 
Rising, by Harley Cokliss & Haunted Honeymoon, 
by Gene Wilder. Audiences are "young & plenti- 
ful." Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", produced in yr 
prior to fest & from 30-180 min. Deadline: May 
30. Contact: Elisa Resegotti, International Mystery 
Film Festival, Via dei Coronari, 44, 00186 Roma, 
Italy; tel: (06) 6567902, or Centra Culturale, P. 
Republica 2. 47033 Cattolica, Italy; tel: (0541) 
967802; telex: 551084 CADRIA 1. 

Royan Festival of Environment & Nature Films. 
September, France. Cash prizes of 10,000 francs go 
to films which have anything to do w/ nature: e.g., 
knowledge of, attack on. protection of, publicizing en- 
vironmental probs. Max: 60-min., produced in the 18 
mos. preceding fest. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 
1/2". Deadline: June 30. Contact: Festival du Film sur 
('Environment et la Nature (RIENA), 26 Passage Han- 
riot, 92400 Courbevoie. France; tel: 43340520; telex: 
MCI6 11376. 

Sao Paolo International Film Festival, October, 
Brazil. 1987 will mark 1 1th year of this well-attended 
noncompetitive fest that aims to present "the most re- 
presentative moments of current cinema." Over 100 
feature & doc films from 25 countries screened last yr. 
Fest cosponsored by state & private companies & 
headed by Brazilian film critic Leon Cakoff. Wide- 
ranging programming incl. wk of Dutch & Czech 
films; British films — incl. Stephen Frear's My Beau- 
tiful Laundrette, Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa. Derek 
Jarman's Caravaggio & Alex Cox's Sid & Nancy — 
French entries incl. Jean-Luc Godard's Detective. Jean- 
Jacques Beiniex's The Moon in the Gutter & Umban 
U. Kset'sNttrudu (coproduced w/ Guinea Bissau): Ger- 
man entries Sugarbaby. by Percy Adlon & Tokyo-Ga, 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



by Wim Wenders & entries from Finland, Sweden, 
Argentina, Japan, Brazil, Austria, New Zealand, Spain 
& Chile. The fest is hospitable to US independents; 
US fdms screened incl. Lizzie Borden's Working 
Girts, Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator & Victoria 
Mudd/Eileen Terry's Broken Rainbow. Terry reports 
that the fest was very well-organized, shipping arrange- 
ments went smoothly, organizers were quite cooper- 
ative & fest admin, voluntarily compiled & sent all 
clips, reviews & articles that appeared on the film 
entry & the festival, which has been useful in their 
publicity. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Contact: Leon 
Cakoff, director/Iara Lee, producer, Al. Lorena, 937 
Cj 302, Sao Paolo, 01424 Brazil; tel: 11 883 5137. 
Director Leon Cakoff may also be contacted 
through the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao 
Paolo, Al. Barao de Limeira, 425 Sao Paolo, CEB 
01202, Brazil; tel: 1 1 874 225; telex 1 122930. 

Tokyo International Film Festival. Sept. 25-Oct. 4, 
Japan. This festival, which debuted in '85 & will 
launch its 2nd edition this year, is said to have a parti- 
cular interest in young US filmmakers & director 
Michio Morioka is enthusiastic about reaching US in- 
dependents. A 3-member team visited NY & LA in 
Jan. to preview films for possible inclusion. Sections 
incl. International Competition, "Young Cinema" sec- 
tion (geared to either "promising" directors under 35 
or directors making their directorial debut w/ the entry 
film who have directed no more than 5 commercial 
films); section showcasing Asia-Pacific films & sec- 
tion featuring films by Japanese directors. In addition, 
2-day series of symposia is planned, featuring a 
section on audiovisual theft. Several related film 
events will be held in conjunction, incl. a "Fantastic 
Film Festival," "International Women's Film Week" 
& "Selected Films from around the World." The 14 
films chosen for competition, which must have been 
produced in the 16 months prior to the fest, will com- 
pete for a Grand Prix & other prizes, incl. best direc- 
tor, best actress/actor, best artistic contribution, best 
screenplay & special jury prize. All directors & casts 
of the nominated films are guests of the festival. An 
int'l 9-member jury will consider films in both 
Competition & Young Cinema sections. Young Cine- 
ma Section features 2 awards — Sakura Gold & Sakura 
Silver — with exceptionally high financial awards 
attached. The '85 jury, headed by David Puttnam, split 
a pot of $ 1 .5-million 3 ways, w/ awards going to Japan- 
ese filmmaker Shingi Somai's Typhoon Club; Hungar- 
ian director Peter Gothar's Time Stands Still & Turkish 
director Ali Ozgenturk's At (The Horse). These signifi- 
cant prizes are to encourage & fund future product- 
ions. Each director selected in this section must submit 
proposals for his/her next film; proposal is taken into 
consideration when awards given. Festival format is 
35mm; pre-selection for the Young Cinema Section 
may be on 16mm or 1/2". Contact: Kyushiro Kusa- 
kabe, program director. Organizing Committee, Tokyo 
International Film Festival, Asano Building No. 3, 2-4- 
19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104, Japan; tel: 81-3-563- 
6304; telex: J34548; fax: 81-3-563-6310. 

Tyneside International Festival of Independent 
Cinema. Oct. 8-18, England. Director Fred Brookes 
sees fest as being at the heart of "the development of 
the germ of a vigorous & progressive media industry" 
in northeast England that will nourish the support of 
ind film. Last yr it featured films from 27 countries 
dealing w/ women's issues, workers' rights, nuclear 
debate, racism & the politics of Latin America. This 
year, its 10th anniversary, fest will focus on 2 specific 



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and programming information 

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production services AND 

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& Video Monthly, the only national film and 
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by Robert Aaronson J\ 1 / 






jm-depth coverage^ over 300 Festivals | f 






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625 Broadway, 9th 
floor, New York, NY 
10012. 







sections: films & videos dealing w/ the gay/lesbian ex- 
perience & works representative of Spain, Latin Amer- 
ica, Central America & the Spanish-speaking 
world. Welcomes docs, shorts & films by new direc- 
tors, w/ cash prizes totalling £7000 in features, short 
film, regional production & video cats. 1986 US selec- 
tions included Bill Daughton's Halloweenie, Gus Van 
Sant's Mala Noche, Lucy Winer's Silent Pioneers, 
Guido Chiesa's Black Harvest, Alfred Guzzetti/Susan 
Meiselas/Richard Rogers' Living at Risk: The Story of 
a Nicaraguan Family; Trinh T. Minh-ha's Naked 
Spaces — Living Is Round, Arther J. Bressan's Buddies, 
David Riesenfeld's Bopha!, Bill Sherwood's Parting 
Glances, Marta Meszaro's Ave Maria, John Adams' 
Intellectual Properties, Nancy Kelly's Cowgirls, 
Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It & David Sutherland's 
Paul Cadmus: Enfant Terrible at 80. Format: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2". No entry fee. Filmmakers are asked 
to give video copy of their work to the festival archive 
for noncommercial educational use. Fest goes on tour 
afterward to independent regional cinemas in Britain, 
w/ an exhibition fee paid to filmmakers. Deadline: 
June 27 (appl. forms), July 1 1 (preview tapes). Con- 
tact: Peter A. Packer, festival programmer, Tyneside 
Film Festival, 10 Pilgrim St., Newcastle upon Tyne, 
NE1 6QG, England; tel: (091) 232-8289. 

Varna World Animated Film Festival, Oct. 3-9, 
Bulgaria. Biennial competitive event that alternates w/ 
Bulgaria's other major fests: Sofia World Film Festi- 
val for Children & Young People, Gabrovo Int'l Come- 
dy Film Festival & Varna Red Cross Film Fest. Fest 
this yr will be held in Varna's new Festival Hall. Cats: 
animated films up to 5 min., 5-15 min. & over 15 
min.; children's animated film (not in serial): film pro- 
duced for TV serial; educational; & director's debut. 
No entry fee. Filmmaker responsible for round trip 
shipping & insurance charges. Top prizes in '85 went 
to The Holy Innocents, by Spain's Mario Camus & to 
USSR's Nikolay Gubenko for Life Tears & Love. 
Recognized by Int'l Assoc, of Animation Filmmakers. 
Prizes accompanied by cash awards. Films shown at 
Annecy or Zagreb not eligible. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm. Deadline: mid-July. Contact: Orlin Filipov, 
festival director. Fifth World Animation Festival, c/o 
International Film Festivals General Management, 1, 
Bulgaria Sq., 1414 Sofia, Bulgaria; tel: 589159; telex 
22059 FESTIN BG. 

Vevey International Festival of Comedy Films, 
August, Switzerland. Now in its 7th year, this festival 
features innovative humorous or ironic films. Jury in 
'86 included Hof Film Festival director Heinz Bade- 
witz, Swiss film critic Alex Barringer, English film 
critic/historian Peter Cowie, Swedish producer Jom 
Dormer & MoMA curator Adrienne Mancia. US en- 
tries out of competition were Ron Howard's Gung Ho, 
Alan Alda's Sweet Liberty & Jim Jarmusch's Down by 
Law. A special retrospective section featured US 
filmmaker Charles Bowers; another retro included ro- 
mantic films. 10 films selected for competition, plus 
10-15 shorts. Prizes incl. Golden Vevey Cane for best 
feature film & for best actor/actress & possibly 2 
special mentions. There are several awards for shorts. 
Films must be subtitled in French. Fest does not pay 
shipping or insurance. Film should be a Swiss pre- 
miere & should not have received any awards in other 
major fests unless it is to be shown in a nocompetitive 
section. Format: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: July 1 (ap- 
plications), Aug. 1 (prints). Contact: Iris Brose, 
director, 5 PI. de la Gare, CH-1800 Vevey, Switzer- 
land; tel: (021) 518282, telex: 451 143. 



THE INDEPENDENT 30 



MAY 1987 



V 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



■ Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 
' Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

■ Professional seminars and screenings 
1 Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film &. Video Monthly, the only national film and video' magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 







J 



There's strength in numbers. 

oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

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THE INDEPENDENT.) 

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IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




Renee Tqjima 



In chronicling African Americans' history, the 
turbulent sixties will be remembered as the 
second Emancipation. Music was a major con- 
tributor to the vitality that characterized that 
decade of struggle. "Freedom songs" adapted 
from church spirituals were heard amid fiery 
speeches, prayers, attack dogs, and water 
hoses — all striking across the soundscape of the 
southern civil rights movement. In the North, 
the anger on the streets emerged in the voice of 
the saxophone, drum, trombone, and trumpet. 
Their ancestral sound was the driving force of 
the free jazz school of urban improvisational 
music. This "spirit music" is explored in Doug 
Harris' long-awaited feature documentary 
Speaking in Tongues. Just as Afro-Ameri- 
can jazz musicians have gained the recognition 
in Europe that eluded them at home, Harris 
went to the West German broadcaster ZDF for 
funding after being rejected by U.S. arts 
agencies. Now complete, Speaking in Tongues 
will be aired in Europe by ZDF and hopefully 
be brought home to U.S. audiences. Speaking in 
Tongues: Griot Productions, Box 1155, New 
York, NY 10027; (212) 222-9523. 

Five of Copper Giloth's recent computer/ 
video installations have been put on display at 
the Herter Art Gallery at the University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst, in her exhibition 
Narrative Information. Giloth's work rang- 
es from computer-driven pieces, in which im- 
ages are drawn on a monitor by a program 



run on a personal computer, to video camera 
images. Clothes Hangers, a three-minute pro- 
gram run by an Amiga computer, is set on a 
fluted white column in the middle of a project- 
ed image of the Supreme Court. As the fluidly 
drawn images succeed one another, a caption- 
ed narrative details the many uses of coat han- 
gers. In Halloween, video images of a carved 
pumpkin glow from a darkened room to re- 
veal a sinister undercurrent of a childhood 
Halloween memory. Throughout the five piec- 
es, Giloth creates an interplay between the 
simple and the complex — via narrative view- 
point and in the images and the technologies 
that produce this. Narrative Information: Her- 
ter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, 
Amherst, MA 01003; (413) 545-1902. 

The Astoria, New York, animator Marie 
Plagianos has recently completed Peace, a 
short film that blends animation with live ac- 
tion in equal parts. Plagianos first conceived 
the idea for Peace while a student at the 
School of Visual Arts in New York City. The 
story is based on a play written by Aristoph- 
anes during the Peloponesian War. Says Plagi- 
ano, "I wanted the theme to center on peace 
without showing war, and I wanted children to 
be able to view the film without being afraid." 
Peace has been selected to represent the U.S. 
in Oslo, Norway, and has screened in a theatri- 
cal run at the Cinema 3 Theater in New York 
City. Peace: Joel Garrick, School of Visual 
Arts, 209 E. 23rd St., New York, NY 10010; 
(212)679-7350, ext. 314. 

The 10-minute short film Iluminada has 



Ramona Rolle-Berg (left) and P.J. Gentry 
(right) in Crescendo, a story of domestic 
violence in Alaska. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



recently been completed with funds from the 
New York State Council on the Arts. Roberta 
Cantow conceived, shot, and edited this ab- 
stract rendition of Mexico, which she de- 
scribes as "a visual impression, a subjective 
response in image and sound without text." 
Cantow sought to capture the Mexican land- 
scape from the point of view of varying levels 
of reality to shape a "song of the soul." Ilum- 
inada: Roberta Cantow, 136 W. 87th St. #7, 
New York, NY 10024; (212) 874-7255. 

A partnership of Alaskan independents and 
community groups formed the basis for the 
production of Crescendo, a 25-minute drama- 
tic film about domestic violence. Writer-direc- 
tor Mary Katzke of Affinityfilms just com- 
pleted principal photography in Anchorage, 
with an all-Alaskan crew and cast. Crescendo 
tells the story of two families: the Adams, a 
loving couple who are planning the arrival of 
their first child, and their next-door neigh- 
bors, the Stewarts, whose intensifying violence 
can be heard through the townhouse wall. The 
Adams' efforts to help their neighbors break 
the cycle of abuse is used to highlight commun- 
ity services and support that are available to 
both the victims and perpetrators of violence 
in the home. Affinityfilms coproduced Cres- 
cendo with the Anchorage Abused Women's 
Aid in Crisis Center and received additional 
support from the Rotary Club and Duty Free 
Shoppers. Crescendo: Affinityfilms, Box 2974, 
Anchorage, AL 99510; (907) 274-0466. 

The irrepressible cable collective Paper Ti- 
ger TV is now in midseason with its Winter/ 
Spring '87 schedule on New York's Group W 
and Manhattan Cable public access channels. 
The primetime series presents weekly critiques 
of the visual and print media. Already this 
year, Paper Tiger has "invaded Amerika" and 
"scanned the (Inter)National Audio/Video Festi- 
val" in Hollywood. In coming weeks. Paper 
Tiger promises Jill Macoska reading Popular 
Science magazine; Maria Manhattan and Betsy 
Newman reading W, and The Parents of the 
Damned: The (Anti)Nuclear MillnerlLarsen 
Clan Reading Parents Magazine. Paper Tiger 
TV: 339 Lafayette St.. New York, NY 10012; 
(212)420-9045. 

Videomaker Ilan Ziv has completed Shrine 
under Siege, a documentary on the unusual 
coalition of U.S. fundamentalist Christians 
and militant Israeli Jews who plot to destroy 
one of Islam's holiest shrines. The site of the 
Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, is hol\ to Jews 
and Arabs alike since it rests above the ruins 
of the last central Temple destroyed by the 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



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Romans. The Israeli extremists would like to 
destroy the Mosque and build another Temple, 
as a fulfillment of a messianic Biblical prophe- 
cy. These "religious terrorists," who have re- 
sorted to violent tactics, have allied them- 
selves with fundamentalist Christians who 
share the same messianic vision. Ziv explores 
the complex theological and political issues im- 
plicit in this alliance. Shrine under Siege pre- 
miered at the Global Village Endangered Doc- 
umentary series in New York. Shrine under 
Siege: Ilan Ziv, 123 W. 93rd St., New York, 
NY; (212) 864-7603. 

Filmmaker Michael Camerini and sociolo- 
gist James Ault have completed a feature- 
length documentary entitled Baptist Church, 
an intimate portrait of a fundamentalist com- 
munity in central Massachusetts. The film ex- 
plores the power of this distinctly U.S. religi- 
ous tradition and "the New Right" politics as- 
sociated with it through the lives of ordinary 
believers who wrestle with basic human prob- 
lems within their community of faith. There is 
the betrayal and loss of a broken family, the 
conflict and alienation of marriage, and teen- 
age rebellion in the church's "Christian Acad- 
emy." The filmmakers spent over six months 
filming on location around the Shamut Val- 
ley, capitalizing on the trust and access Ault 
already built during two years of sociological 
research prior to shooting. Baptist Church: 
Shamut Valley Baptist Church Project, Five 
Colleges, Box 740, Amherst, MA 01004; (413) 
256-8316. 

Gary Hill has completed a five-channel vid- 
eo installation entitled Crux (1983-1987), a 
kind of absentee performance piece for the 
stage and accompanying spoken text. Accord- 
ing to Hill: "The 'performer' is seen as a com- 
posite video image. The head, hands, and feet 
are separately framed on five monitors sus- 
pended from the ceiling which are arranged in 
such a way as to suggest a number of icons: a 
crucifixion, a robot, a puppet, or perhaps Da 
Vinci's Proportions of the Human Figure." The 
piece was commissioned by curator Julie Lazar 
at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary 
Art for its year-long inaugural exhibition 
program. Crux was installed in the museum's 
Ahmanson Auditorium from January through 
March earlier this year. Crux (1983-1987): Mu- 
seum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave. 
at California Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012; 
(213)621-2766. 

Inter Nationes, the German translation agency, 
has commissioned Richard Kostelanetz and Ger- 
man filmmaker Martin Koerber to produce 
additional Spanish and Hebrew versions of A 
Berlin Lost, their 1985 film about the great 
Jewish cemetary of Berlin. In previous versions, 
the filmmakers decided that instead of subtitling 
the film or overdubbing the original German 
voices, they would compose a new audio track, 
based on ex-Berliners who speak English, 
French, and Swedish. The result was a series of 
very distinct films with varying emphases, even 



COPPER GILOTH 



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Copper Giloth's video installation, Narrative 
Information, debuted at the Herter Art 
Gallery at the University of Massachusetts in 
Amherst. 



though they shared a common visual track. The 
same strategy will be used in the Yiddish and 
Dutch versions, yet to be made. A Berlin Lost: 
Richard Kostelanetz, Box 444, Prince St., New 
York, NY 10012; (212) 982-3099. 

It is estimated that there are eight to 10 mil- 
lion children of gay and lesbian parents in the 
United States. Yet, because of the prejudice 
against homosexuality in our society, these 
families remain secret. San Francisco-based 
filmmakers Kevin White and Annamarie Faro 
have completed a one-hour film Not All 
Parents Are Straight, which examines the 
lives of these families and the challenges they 
confront. Through interviews with children 
and their parents, the documentary looks at 
the emotional conflicts within the family, le- 
gal custody problems, and the social discrim- 
ination that both parent and child face. Not 
All Parents Are Straight: Cinema Guild, 1697 
Broadway, New York, NY 10019; (212) 246- 
5522. 



INSURE YOUR 
EQUIPMENT 

With membership in AIVF, you can in- 
sure your valuable equipment and protect 
yourself from loss and damage costs. 

• Rate is $2.75 per $100 of value 

• Minimum annual premium $300 

• $250 deductible per claim 

• Automatic $2,500 coverage of owned 
equipment 

For an application, write Ethan Young, 
Membership Services, AIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds column 
includes all listings for "Buy o Rent ° Sell," 
"Freelancers" & "Postproduction" 
categories. It is restricted to members 
only. Each entry has a 250 character limit 
& costs $15 per issue. Payment must be 
made at the time of submission. Anyone 
wishing to run a classifiea aa more than 
once must pay for each insertion & 
indicate the number of insertions on the 
submitted copy. Each classifiea ad must 
be typed, double- spacea & woraed 
exactly as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be 
respected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover 
date, e.g., May 8 for the July issue. Make 
check or money order— no cash, 
please— payable to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor. New York, NY 1 00 1 2. 



Buy o Rent o Sell 



For Sale: JVC KY-2700A color camera, includes 
travel case, 14 to 1 Fujinon lens, AC adaptor, cam- 
era battery with charger, camera plate & instruction 
manual. Excellent condition. Must sell. $2,500 or 
best offer. Call (212) 662-3332. 

For Sale: Sony EV-A80 8mm Video Recorder. 
Brand new, box never opened. Super hi-fi sound, fly- 
ing erase head for noise free editing, slow mo., 7 
day, 3 event timer, cable compatible. $400 or best 
offer. (212)966-6326. 

For Sale: JVC KY 310 3-tube Saticon Video Cam- 
era w/12-1 Fujinon lens & accessories. Less than 
100 hours of use. $4700 negotiable. Supervised test 
available. Call Donald or Jennifer, (212) 874-0132. 

For Sale: Sony M3 video camera, like new, 80 hrs 
on the tubes, verifiable, Fujinon lens 1.7, 9-108 
mm, carrying case, $4,900. Call James (212) 924- 
1320. 

For Sale: Eclair ACL 16mm carnera with crystal 
synch motor, two 200' magazines, 12-volt battery, 
Zeiss 10-100 zoom lens & Miller fluid head tripod, 
all lightly used & in excellent condition. $3,000. 
(212)866-7625. 

For Sale: 6-plate Moviola flatbed 86A editing 
table w/ torque box. Light use. Excellent condi- 
tion. $4,000. 2 Rivas 16mm straight cut splicers, 2 
Moviscope viewers, Moviola rewinds, 2 16mm 
synchronizers, Magnasync soundreader. (212) 866- 
7625. 

For Rent: 3 furnished offices including editing 
room, hi-floor, share terrace overlooking Green- 
wich Village, share conference/screening room, copy- 
ing machine. $950/mo., min. 6 mos, avail, immedi- 
ately. Louise (212) 206-1213 (10-6) or leave mes- 
sage on machine. 



For Sale: 6-plate Moviola flatbed editing machine 
(16mm) in good condition with new transformer. 
$4,600 or best offer. Louise (212) 206-1213 (10-6) 
or leave message on machine. 

For Sale: JVC KY-2700A color camera. Includes 
travel case, 14 to 1 Fuginon lens, AC adaptor, cam- 
era battery w/ charger, camera plate & instruction 
manual. Excellent condition. Must sell. $2,500 or 
best offer. Call (212) 662-3332. 

Freelancers 

Production: Experienced Network Videographers 
with complete broadcast gear available for long or 
short term projects. We shoot News, Documen- 
taries, Sports & Music Videos. Reasonable rates. 
Call Tony Brown (212) 302-0161. 

Soundman: Extensive experience in features/ 
documentaries. Great gear, will travel. Call for 
refs/credits. Doug (212) 489-0232 (NYC). 

Award- Winning Cinematographer going to Italy 
in the summer of 1987. Save on travel & related 
expenses. Own 16mm equipment & crew; many op- 
tions available. Renato Tonelli (718) 236-0153. 

Production Coordinator, Assistant Director, Asso- 
ciate Producer, Production Assistant, Script Supervi- 
sor, Continuity, Props & Set Design: Interested in 
film/tape projects, pre-production, production & 
post-production. Will travel or work in NYC area. 
Valid drivers license, U.S. passport & a sense of 
humor. Please call Otie Brown (212) 645-0619. 

Independent Producers: seeking video/film docu- 
mentaries for national/international distribution; 
historical, social, ethnic, cultural & children's 
themes about the American West. Onewest Media, 
P.O. Box 5766, Santa Fe, NM 87502, (505) 983- 
8685. 

Experienced Gaffer available for interesting pro- 
jects. Lighting packages, generator, location van & 
crew. Call for appointment. J. Anthony Produc- 
tions (516) 294-1038. 

3/4" Production Package with visually artistic 
cameraman/director. Also still photography. 
Elliott Landy, 400 E. 83 St., N.Y.. N.Y. 10028. 
(212)734-1402. 

Postproduction 

16MM Flatbeds For Rent: 6-plate flatbeds for 
rent in your workspace or fully equipped down- 
town editing room with 24 hr. access. Cheapest 
rates in NYC for independent filmmakers. Call 
Philmaster Productions, (212) 873-4470. 

Broadcast Quality Video Editing w/ special ef- 
fects. $35/hr. hands-on rale. Sony BVU-800 series 
editing decks. Convergence 90 controller, fades, slo- 
mo. freeze-frames, Chyron graphics. W/ editor, 
$55/hr. plus graphics. Convergence training, 3/4" & 
VHS transfers/dups, $1 5/half-hr.. in-house voice- 



over, location production, pkgs. Lincoln Ctr. area. 
HDTV Enterprises (212) 874-4524. 

Negative Matching: 16mm, super 16, 35mm cut for 
regular printing, blowup, or video transfer. Credits 
include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders & Yvonne 
Rainer. Reliable results at reasonable rates. One White 
Glove, Tim Brennan (718) 897^145, NYC. 

Bob Brodsky & Toni Treadway: Super 8 & 8mm 
film-to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color 
correction to 3/4", 1" & high speed components. By 
appointment only. Call (617) 666-3372. 

Sound Transfers: 16/35mm, 24/25/30 fps, center, 
edge, & multi track, time code capable, state of the 
art equipment (includes Time Code Stereo & Mono 
Nagras). Evening & weekend service available, con- 
venient downtown location. Discount to AIVF & 
NABET members & for grant funded projects. 
Downtown Transfer/Billy Sarokin; (212) 255-8698. 

Super 8 to Video Transfer: Broadcast quality, 
8mm, 16 & slides to all video formats. Dubs, 3/4" 
edit. Economy transfers. Special: 1/2 price Mondays 
for supervised transfers. Caring personnel. Landy 
Vision, 400 E. 83 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10028. (212) 
734-1402. 

3/4" Off-Line Editing Room: Clean, light, airy. 
Equipped with ECS Convergence Super 90 with 2 
Sony decks & Mitsubishi Video Printer. Located at 
57th & Broadway. Philip Burton Productions (212) 
333-7710. 



PUT YOUR MONEY 
WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS 

AIVF members and their families in New 
York and New Jersey are now eligible to 
participate in the New York Dental Plan. 

Coverage includes: 

• Up to 50% off the cost of all dental work 
without restrictions or limitations 

• One free check-up including x-rays, 
cleaning, and an examination 

• Free consultation with a plan specialist 

• Large savings on all specialty work 
including periodontics, orthodontics, 
endodontics, oral surgery, implants, and 
cosmetic dentistry. 

Coverage is accepted at over 800 private 
offices throughout New York State and 
New Jersey. 



MAY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 33 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are 
included as space permits. The Indepen- 
dent reserves the right to edit for length. 
Deadlines for Notices will be respected. 
These are the 8th of the month, two 
months prior to cover date, e.g., May 8 
for the July issue. Send notices to 
Independent Notices, FIVF, 625 
Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 



Conferences o Workshops 

4th Annual New Jersey Video & Film Festival 
Conference "Media Makers: Visions & Realities" 
will be held May 15, 9-4:30 pm at the Newark 
Airport Marriott Hotel. Workshops incl. "Video 
Art: Another Canvas," "Distribution of Indepen- 
dent Work," "Funding" & video installation by 
Paper Tiger TV. Registration $45 in advance; $35 
for members of the New Jersey Media Artists 
Network in advance; $60 for all at the door. 
Contact: Dana Kenney, Newark Mediaworks, Box 
1716, Newark, NJ 07101; (201) 690-5474. 

Weaving Women's Colors: A Decade of Empower- 
ment: 10th annual conference of the National Wom- 
en's Studies Assn., Spelman College, Agnes Scott 
College & Emory Univ., June 24-28 at Spelman 
College. Plenaries, workshops & media presenta- 
tions on intersection of race & gender in various 
areas of empowerment, focus on women of color. 
Incl. film & video screenings, open screenings & 
film library. Contact: NWSA '87. Emory Univ., 
Box 21223, Atlanta, GA 30322; (404) 727-7845. 

Visual Studies Workshop Summer Institute: Class- 
es in photography, theory & criticism, video, print- 
ing & book arts from June 29- Aug. 14. College 
credit available through SUNY Brockport. For 
catalogue, write Visual Studies Workshop, 31 
Prince St., Rochester, NY 14607; (716) 442-8676. 

French-American Film Workshop: 3-week summer 
study course will take place in Avignon, France, 
June 15-July 6. Intensive survey of 20th century 
French & Amer. independent cinema. 3rd week of 
course coincides w/ "Recontres Cinematographiques 
Franco-Americaines," an int'l forum for film pro- 
fessionals from both countries. Contact: French 
American Film Workshop, 23 rue de la Republique, 
84000 Avignon, France; Tel. 90.85.50.98, Telex 
432877. 

University Film & Video Assn: 41st annual confer- 
ence to be held Aug. 3-7 at Loyola Marymount 
Univ. in Los Angeles. Topics incl. interface of film 
& video prod, in teaching, use of computers in film 
& video, issues of preservation & restoration of 
film & video. Contact: Dana Driskel, UFVA Con- 
ference Program Coordinator, Film Studies Pro- 
gram, U.C. Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 
93106. 



Films o Tapes Wanted 

American Museum of the Moving Image is looking 
for features, shorts, docs & videos w/ distinct 
American regional flavor, for major retrospective 
in May '88. Send preview prints, written material, 
or contact by phone: David Schwartz, American 
Museum of the Moving Image, 34-12 36th St., 
Astoria, NY 1 1 106; (718) 784-4520. 

The Cinema Guild seeks film & video programs suit- 
able for release through its new home video divi- 
sion. Contact: Gary Crowdus. Cinema Guild, 1697 
Broadway, New York, NY 10019; (212) 246-5522. 

UCVideo seeks new works by independents in these 
areas: women's issues, performing arts, politics & 
government. Native American issues, fine arts, litera- 
ture & social issues. Contact: Odessa Flores, distribu- 
tion director, UCVideo, 425 Ontario St. SE, Minnea- 
polis, MN 55414; (612) 627-4444. 



Opportunities o Gigs 

Producer Seeks Cameraperson w/ own industrial 
VHS equipment. Contact: (212) 529-6066, NYC. 

Distribution/Administrative Assistant position 
available at Electronic Arts Intermix, NYC. Full- 
time entry level position for Artists' Videotape 
Distribution Service. Paid benefits. Contact: Robert 
Beck, EAI, 10 Waverly PL, New York, NY 10003; 
(212) 473-6822. 



Publications o Software 

Texas Film/Tape Directory: Now available from 
the Texas Assn. of Film/Tape Professionals. 11th 
edition features comprehensive roster of freelance 
film & video production personnel & industry 
support services in Texas. Contact: TAF/TP, 3023 
Routh St., Dallas, TX 75201; (214) 871-2701. 

British Film Catalogue: 1895-1985: Guide to Brit- 
ish film by Denis Gifford now available. Standard 
reference work w/ over 1,500 new entries. Price: 
$75 hardbound. Contact: Facts on File, 460 Park 
Ave. S.. New York, NY 10016; (212) 683-2244. 

Telecom Action News: Now replaces Access as the 
source of definitive news & analysis on telecommun- 
ication issues from the public interest perspective. 
Published by Telecommunications Research & Ac- 
tion Center. Contact: TRAC, Box 12038, Washing- 



Resources o Funds 

Media Grants for social issue media projects will 
be administered through Paul Robeson Fund for 
Film & Video of the Funding Exchange. Deadline: 



May 1. Write Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 

Nat'l Endowment for the Arts: National Services 
application deadline: May 8. Contact: NEA Media 
Arts Program: (202) 682-5452. Advancement 
Grants in the Media Arts, deadline May 7 for 
letter of intent to apply; application deadline June 
4. Contact: Advancement Grant Program; (202) 682- 
5436. NEA, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Wash- 
ington. DC 20506. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Open Solici- 
tations deadline: May 1. Contact: CPB, Program 
Fund, 1111 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. 

Film Bureau: Grants avail, to nonprofit NYS-based 
organizations for film exhibition programs. Sup- 
ports wide variety of programs, from annual film 
fests to special screenings at local libraries, galler- 
ies & community centers. Matching funds of up to 
$300 avail, for film rentals & up to $200 per speak- 
ing engagement for presentations by filmmakers, 
producers, directors, technicians & scholars. Prior- 
ity given to organizations showing works by inde- 
pendent filmmakers &/or films not ordinarily 
avail, to the public. Deadlines: June 15, Aug. 15., 
Jan. 15. Contact: Film/Video Arts, 817 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 

Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Assn. 
subsidy grants avail, to members of PIFVA; funds 
provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 
Funds awarded for specific, targeted services vital 
to the project's completion, performed at below 
commercial rates. Average grants S250-500. Dead- 
line: June 1. For apps. contact PIFVA, Int'l House. 
3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; (215) 
387-5125. 

Video Services Grants to New York State Compo- 
sers: Awards to 6 New York State composers for 
access to professional television production & edit- 
ing facilities at the Inter-Media Art Center in 
Huntington, NY. Deadline: May 1. Contact: 
JMAC, 370 New York Ave., Huntington, NY 
11743; (516) 549-9666. 

New York Council for the Humanities: Proposal 
deadline: June 1. Contact: NYCH, 198 Broadway, 
10th fl.. New York, NY 10038; (212) 233-1 131. 

Visual Arts Residency Program: Sponsored by 
Mid Atlantic States Arts Consortium, supports or- 
ganizations that host residencies of 2 wks-3 months 
by individual artists, arts organization staff mem- 

&i T S, 3!7 CfitJCS A 7 ClBSfOTX -NtaywofitV JftfJ2ted .i? 

DE., DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA & WV. Applica- 
tion deadline: July 15. Contact: Pittsburgh Film- 
makers, Box 7467, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. 

Natx Endowment for the Humanities: Challenge 
Grants application deadline: May 1. Contact: 
Challenge Grants Guidelines. Rm 409. Public Affairs 
Office. NEH. 1 100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Washing- 
ton, DC 20506. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1987 



Hall walls Gallery will award 6-9 grants of $2,500- 
4,000 to artists working in interdisciplinary or 
collaborative fashion. Artists in upstate NY, eastern 
OH, western PA & WV are eligible. Deadline: May 7. 
Contact: Steve Griffith, Hallwalls, 700 Main St., 
Buffalo, NY 14202; (716) 854-5828. 



Trims & Glitches 

Kudos to winners of the Film Arts Foundation film & 
video grants: Ardath Grant for No One Is Home; 
Marek Pacholec, Witches; Nancy Kelly, No Life for a 
Lady & Eric Marin, Cows under the Pepper Tree. 

Kudos to University Community Video which has 
been awarded a $45,000 grant from the Bush Foun- 
dation. 

Congratulations Mickey Siporin, whose film The 
Blink-O-Rama Theatre received 1st prize from the 
Jury of Youth at the Int'l Festival of Cinema for 
Children & Youth. 

Kudos to AIVF members who received coveted Aca- 
demy Award nominations: Amram Nowak for Isaac in 
America & Sharon I. Sopher, Witness to Apartheid 
(best documentary feature); Sonya Friedman, The 
Masters of Disaster & Vivienne Verdon-Roe, 
Women — For America, For the World (best docu- 
mentary short); Fredda Weiss, Love Struck & Chuck 
Workman, Precious Images (best live action short); 
Jerry Pantzer, Masters of Disaster & Isaac in America 
(cinematography); Peter Schnall, DP on Chile: Hasta 
Cuando? (best feature documentary). 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 



AIVF offers its members excellent group 
medical and life insurance plans, admin- 
istered by The Entertainment Industry 
Group Insurance Trust (TEIGIT). Our 
comprehensive medical plan offers: 

• $200 deductible 

• 80% co-insurance 

•yearly out-of-pocket cost set at $1,000 
maximum & $1,000,000 maximum life- 
time benefit 

Other plans are available, including disa- 
bility income insurance with a $500 
monthly benefit. 

To join AIVF or for more information, 
write AIVF Membership Services, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York NY 10012, 
or call Ethan Young, (212) 473-3400. 



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MAY 1967 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



MEMORANDA 



DAS BOOTH 

For this year's Berlin International Film Festi- 
val, AIVF teamed up with the New York Foun- 
dation for the Arts (NYFA) to organize a booth 
for independent U.S. producers invited to 
participate in the festival's two noncompetitive 
sections. This was the first time that information 
on U.S. independents had been centralized and 
coordinated in this fashion, comparable to the 
distributors' and national film boards' booths 
representing other countries' productions. 

The need for a U.S. independents' booth be- 
came apparent to Lynda Hansen, director of 
NYFA's New Works program, during last 
year's festival. She and Robert Aaronson, 
then AIVF festival bureau director and now 
assistant director of New Works at NYFA, be- 
gan to discuss the possibility of AIVF and 
NYFA collaborating on such a booth. After 
getting a positive response to the idea from 
both filmmakers and the festival directors, 
they and AIVF executive director Lawrence 
Sapadin put the idea in motion and began 
approaching media organizations for cospon- 
sorship. 

"There's no question the booth was success- 
ful in terms of generating interest and getting 
information out," says Kathryn Bowser, 
AIVF'S festival bureau director, who staffed 
the booth together with Hansen, Aaronson, 
and liaison Ursula Rapp of the Munich Film 
Festival. "Ours seemed the most hectic of the 
market's booths. It was three-people deep all 
the time." 



In addition to distributing a 32-page catalo- 
gue describing the more than 30 invited films 
and videotapes, the booth also made available 
literature from the 26 sponsoring organiza- 
tions — a mix of media arts centers, distributors, 
exhibitors, funders, and membership organiza- 
tions. 

To further showcase U.S. independent pro- 
ductions, AIVF and NYFA also organized 
market screenings and press conferences for 
each of the noncompetitive entries. Says 
Aaronson, "In the past, filmmakers and 
agents booked market screenings as they saw 
fit. This was the first time all the films were 
booked together at the market in advance of 
the festival, so they could appear in the mar- 
ket catalogue." The market screenings were 
attended by distributors, buyers, and the inter- 
national press. 

A number of programming and distribution 
deals resulted from these screenings. Swiss, 
Icelandic, and Portuguese TV reps expressed 
interest in Barbara Margolis' Are We Win- 
ning the War, Mommy? America and the 
Cold War. Tina Difeliciantonio's Living with 
AIDS was bought by Swedish TV and acquir- 
ed by Cactus Films, a Swiss distributor. Marc 
Huestis began negotiations with the German 
channel ZDF about rights to Chuck Solomon: 
Coming of Age, which will also play theatri- 
cally in London and at the Toronto Film Festi- 
val as a result of contacts made at the Berlin 
festival. The German distributors OKO-Film 
and Arsenal picked up some films, including 
Beth B's Salvation: Have You Said Your 
Prayers Today? and works by D.A. Penne- 




baker. Doris Chase, Rachid Kerdouche, and 
Guido Chiesa are among those still in negotia- 
tions begun in Berlin. In addition to television 
and theatrical distribution opportunities, the 
Berlin market also opened doors to other film 
festivals. Various producers received invita- 
tions from the American Film Instititute, 
Edinburgh, Toronto, Venice, and Jerusalem film 
festivals. 

The enthusiastic response to the booth prac- 
tically assures its continuation at next year's 
Berlin Film Festival. And there is the possibil- 
ity of similar efforts elsewhere. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 



AIVF/FIVF THANKS 

The Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers and the Foundation for Indepen- 
dent Video and Film provide a variety of pro- 
grams and services to the independent producer 
community, including publication of The Inde- 
pendent, the FTVF Festival Bureau, seminars 
and workshops, and an information clearing- 
house. None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the following 
agencies, organizations, and individuals: 
Camera Mart, Inc.; Cinema 5 Theaters; Circle 
Releasing Corporation; Consolidated Edison 
Company of NY; Du Art Film Laboratories; 
Eastman Kodak Company; Film Equipment 
Rental Co.; the Ford Foundation; Guild Theatre 
Enterprises; Home Box Office, Inc.; Lubell & 
Lubell; Manhattan Cable Television; Morgan 
Guaranty Trust Company; Movielab Video; 
National Endowment for the Arts; New York 
State Council on the Arts; New York State 
Governor's Office for Motion Picture & Tele- 
vision Development; Orion Classics; Rockamer- 
ica; TVC Image Technology; Uptown. Manhat- 
tan's Moviechannel; Valley Filmworks; the 
Walter Reade Organization; WNET/ Thirteen. 



The combined NYFA/AIVF 
booth at the Berlin Film 
Festival gave U.S. 
independent film- and 
videomakers a shot at 
market leverage. 

Photo: Ekko von Schwichow 



THE INDEPENDENT 36 



MAY 1987 




Start on EASTMAN. 

Finish on EASTMAN. 

Film • Tape 




Eastman Kodak Company, Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

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local or regional media arts center or tele- 
phone Caroline at (202) 331-8100. 

The series will premiere on TLC in 
October and will include about 20-25 works 
in 13 hour-long programs. Your entries are 
encouraged but must be accompanied by 
the official entry forms (or a photocopy of 
the forms) found in the announcement flyer. 
The deadline for submissions is May 15, 
1987 (no extensions will be granted). 

Also, check your local cable listings 
for Declarations of Independents, now 
airing on TLC. 





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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INXPENXNr 



JUNE 1987 

VOLUME 10, NUMBER 5 



Publisher 

Editor 

Managing Editor 

Associate Editor 

Contributing Editors 



Editorial Staff: 
Production Staff: 

Art Director: 
Advertising: 



National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Ruth Copeland 
Morgan Gwenwald 
Christopher Holme 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
1 13 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), 
a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational 
foundation dedicated to the promotion of 
video and film, and by the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. 
(AIVF), the national trade association of 
independent producers and individuals 
involved in independent video and film. 
Subscription is included with membership 
in AIVF. Together FIVF and AIVF provide a 
broad range of educational and pro- 
fessional services for independent and 
the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the article's pre- 
vious appearance in The Independent. 
ISSN 0731-5198. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1987 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; Kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business man- 
ager; Raina Fortini, administrative assistant; Sol 
Horowitz, Short Film Showcase project adminis- 
trator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Joyce Bo- 
linger (chair), Robert Richter (president), Howard 
Petrick (vice president), Robin Reidy (secretary), 
Adrianne Benton," Christine Choy (treasurer), Loni 
Ding, Lisa Frigand," Richard Lorber,* Tom Luddy, 
Deanna Morse, Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), 
Steve Savage," Brenda Webb, Barton Weiss, 
John Taylor Williams 

" FIVF Board of Directors only 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

1 3 The Outsider's Aesthetic: Contemporary Independent Film in Canada 

by Geoff Pevere 

1 8 The Other Americas: Popular Video and Film in Latin America 

by Jane Creighton 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Dawning Hopes and Sunsets for Must-Carry 

by Patricia Thomson 

Refugee Refuse 

by Renee Tajima 

PBS Policy Review 

by Martha Gever 

Coke Is It 

Empire Builders 

Two Funds Announced 

Sequels 

8 FIELD REPORT 

Eyes on the Prize: AFI Seminar Examines Black Participation in American 
Media 

by Monona Wali 

10 IN FOCUS 

Blow Up: Budget-Cutting Video-to-35mm Production 

by Mia Amato 

Keeping the Beat: Sync on the Set 

by Alan Zdinak 

22 FESTIVALS 

Pick of the Crop: Toronto's Festival of Festivals 

by Robert Aaronson 

In Brief 

by Kathryn Bowser 

29 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

31 CLASSIFIEDS 
33 NOTICES 




COVER: Stephen Penney, the protagonist in John Paizs' Crime Wave, contemplates The 
Canadian Dilemma: a distinctive cultural voice that is convinced it has no cultural voice 
and a national condition of alienation. In "The Outsider's Aesthetic: Contemporary 
Independent Film in Canada" Geoff Pevere looks at how feature filmmakers are 
making works which comment on this chronic cultural detachment. 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



PRESERVATION PRESSURES 



To the editor: 

I would like to officially respond to Edward Ball's arti- 
cle, "The Good, the Bad, the Forgettable," in the 
Maichissuz of The Independent , especially to his erron- 
eous and unfair contention that American film ar- 
chives are in cahoots with the cinema industries' estab- 
lishment and that they willingly exclude independent 
work. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

It is true that much independent work has not 
been archived, and that film archivists are at the mercy 
of economic forces in the marketplace, but not in quite 
the way that Ball suggests. Film preservation is an ex- 
tremely expensive proposition. At present, the George 
Eastman House alone holds more than eight million 
feet of nitrate film which is still unprotected and unpre- 
served. The funds received from the NEA and 
NYSCA for nitrate preservation allow for the transfer- 
ral to acetate stock of. at best, 10 to 20 films a year. At 
this rate American archives with nitrate holdings will 
still be working on preservation well into the twenty- 
first century — if indeed any nitrate survives that long. 
Up to now government granting agencies have more 
or less refused to fund either video or acetate film pre- 
servation. From the private sector, whether Hollywood 
or independents, we cannot expect any financial help 
whatsoever. We are literally caught in vicious circle, 
while our nitrate continues to deteriorate. 

As far as our acquisitions policy is concerned, 
George Eastman House and the other national film col- 
lections certainly evolved historically from the tastes 
of their earliest curators. Thus, the GEH collection is 
very much a product of the efforts of its first director. 
James Card, just as MoMA's collection reflects Iris 
Barry. At the same time, it must be noted that neither 
Card nor subsequent curators have ever turned down a 
donation. Eastman House owns Hollywood films, as 
well as foreign titles, documentary films and news- 
reels, independent work, as well as a substantial a- 
mount of virtually anonymous amateur footage. 

We welcome all donations; we encourage deposits 
and/or permanent loans. In fact, this is one way film 
archives and independents can truly help one another. 
We offer free storage space to all filmmakers for their 
negatives or other pre-print materials. Given the ex- 
treme expense of storage at commercial laboratories, 
savings to the filmmaker could be substantial. Most ar- 
chives, including GEH, will also guarantee both ready 
access and complete security from pirating. What do 
film archives ask in return? The chance to produce ar- 
chive materials at some later date, possibly a reference 
print for internal use, i.e., for researchers, students, 
etc. All rights remain with the owner; any usage of 
material is contingent on approval by the owner. 

Film archivists consider this quite an equitable quid 
pro quo, yet few filmmakers take advantage of this op- 
portunity, probably because they are not aware of 
these facts. Ball can thus rightly accuse film archivists 
of not communicating adequately. However, as Freder- 
ick Wiseman (who to my knowledge has never belong- 
ed to the Hollywood establishment) can attest, since 
he recently decided to deposit all his material at GEH, 
film archivists have not actively conspired against 
independents. 

As far as the establishment of an official canon is 
concerned, film archives have been the least likely to 



"follow marketplace trends in their collection habits." 
Silent films, of which almost 80 percent have disap- 
peared, would have become extinct had the archives 
followed market trends. That a revisionist history of 
cinema is today possible — pointing towards all those 
films not included in the canon from Griffith to Ford 
to Coppola, films by black independents, films by "am- 
ateurs" like James Sibley Watson, films by women 
like Lois Weber, films produced regionally in Florida 
or Maine — is due to the efforts of this country's film 
archives. Where would the New American Cinema be 
today, had not Anthology Film Archives come into 
being? 

If Ball is looking for a scapegoat, he should look 
elsewhere. Why is it that the U.S. government can sup- 
posedly afford trillions of dollars for defense, but only 
a pittance for nitrate and acetate film preservation, 
when the cost of preservation for all of America's ni- 
trate would be substantially less than a single MX mis- 
sile? Why have American film corporations — until 
very recently, when they discovered the video value of 
old movies — periodically and systematically destroyed 
their films? Why must film archives be chronically un- 
derstaffed and underfunded? Ball would have been 
doing independents a greater service had he answered 
these questions, rather than constructing a cheap shot 
for himself. 

— Jan-Christopher Horak 

associate curator/film. International Museum of 

Photography at George Eastman House, 

Rochester, NY 



Edward Ball replies: 

To Jan-Christopher Horak's excellent but quaint ques- 
tion to me about why the federal government buys 
bombs rather than triacetate dupes of nitrate-based si- 
lent film classics, I am sorry to say that I don't have an 
easy answer, or at least, I have no answer that would 
be appropriate for this publication. Perhaps he and I 
can get togehter with experts on national security who 
will settle the matter for both of us. In the meantime, I 
would like to address Horak's criticisms. 

Independent film and videomakers are among the 
first who will testify to the existence of a cultural hege- 
mony (of film genres, formal choices, etc.) that influ- 
ences their financing and production decisions. That 
same hegemony — which fortunately is always being 
contested and modified — also monitors the collection 
decisions of film and television archives. Unless every 
film in the history of cinema is placed in a vault and 
preserved (an absurd proposition), film archives must 
collect and maintain their materials selectively, or ac- 
cording to a set of identifiable values. The process is 
both conscious ("Yes, we want both John Wayne and 
Dada films") and unconscious, that is guided by eco- 
nomic determinants and dominant ideology ("A major 
studio want us to house its bank of Cold War epics 
— why not?"). Nowhere in my article did I suggest 
that "film archives are in cahoots with the cinema es- 
tablishment." as Horak claims, and whose profession I 
never intended to impugn. And neither did I suggest 
that film archivists consciously exclude independents 
from collections that they manage. I did want to point 



out, however, that film archives participate in the on- 
going war over society's memory of its own culture. 
The following tale supports this modest (and, to me, 
obvious) claim, while its drama brings to light the 
usually anonymous profession of the archivist, who 
typically works out of sight of audiences and critics. 

The patron saint of film archivists, Henri Langlois, 
founder of both the venerable Cinemateque Francais 
(in 1935) and the Federation Internationale des Ar- 
chives du Film (FIAF, in 1938) — two cornerstone insti- 
tutions in the edifice of film memory — was an obses- 
sive cinephile who spent most of his life collecting 
and screening films. During the wartime occupation of 
Paris, when the German command attempted to re- 
make French culture in the image of fascist ideology, 
in part by seizing and destroying unacceptable films. 
Langlois managed to safeguard thousands of prints 
from the official purge, a feat for which he was lion- 
ized in France after the war. Interestingly, Langlois 
was helped in his salvage efforts by a sympathetic 
Nazi officer, one Frank Hensel, who intervened period- 
ically to block certain seizures of films and who him- 
self was none other than the first president of FIAF 
(still the leading professional association of film ar- 
chives). The connection with the fascist Hensel was ex- 
pedient to Langlois' only concern, the protection of 
films, and does not, of course, implicate Langlois as a 
collaborationist (indeed, he was later widely praised as 
a kind of above-ground member of the Resistance). Af- 
ter the war, Langlois went on to become a lifelong and 
somewhat paranoid defender of the mountainous Cin- 
emateque Francais collection that he built, a body of 
films that he always perceived to be under some threat 
from ideological inquisitors both within and outside 
the French government. When Langlois was awarded 
a special Oscar in 1974, Jack Valenti. president of the 
Motion Picture Association of America, called him 
"the consience of the cinema" 

The story of Langlois (which may be read in detail in 
Richard Roud's 1983 biography, A Passion for Films) 
demonstrates that archivists can never be neutral, dis- 
interested benefactors of the cinema, but are always 
agents engaged on behalf of some set of values in a his- 
torical and political context. In occupied Paris, Lan- 
glois defended an ecumenical view of film history in 
an atmosphere of censorship. Today, when ideological 
pressures are no less present, but merely less visible, 
the choices of archives reflect prejudices. For exam- 
ple, the preservation of nitrate prints with which 
Horak is so concerned (and, which is, in its way, an 
important project) is a chosen priority to which the 
George Eastman House archive has devoted consid- 
erable efforts over other priorities (hanging onto the 
old cinema versus seeking out and buying the new, 
etc.). Langlois' work to save films during the war. his 
particular consort with a fascist to carry out this goal, 
and the current position of archives in the United 
States, where the myth of tolerance hides more com- 
plicated agendas of permitted filmmaking — these 
features emphasize how archivists work within a 
complex system of cultural hegemony, reinforcing it 
or dismantling it. conscious or not. however else they 
see their role. 



2 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



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MEDIA CLIPS 



DAWNING HOPES AND 
SUNSETS FOR MUST-CARRY 



Responding to Congressional pressure, the Fed- 
eral Communications Commission on March 
26 approved a new version of the must-carry 
rules governing cable's carriage of local 
broadcast signals. Must-carry had been 
suspended since July 1985, following a federal 
appeals court decision in a case brought by 
Quincy Cable TV that carriage requirements 
violated cable operators' freedom of speech. 
[See "Must-Carry to Go: Court Declares Rule 
Unconstitutional," October 1985.] The origi- 
nal must-carry rules, in effect for 20 years, 
required that all local broadcast signals be 
carried by cable operators. A revised version, 
with more limited carriage requirements, was 
to have gone into effect on January 15, 1987, 
but was unexpectedly held up at the last 
minute by the FCC. The recent FCC announce- 
ment alleviates industry fears that the FCC 
might stonewall the must-carry rules indefinite- 
ly, even after a series of compromises had been 
reached and agreed to since the 1985 Quincy 
case. But the newest version of must-carry 
leaves many affected parties dissatisfied, particu- 
larly the independent and public television sta- 
tions that have been hurt most by the deregula- 
tory changes. 

Over 150 public television stations have been 
dropped since must-carry was eliminated two 
years ago. Many others have been shifted to 
higher, less watched locations on the channel 
line-up, their old spots usually being given to 
pay or former pay services, advertising-support- 
ed cable channels, or programming in which the 
cable operators have equity interest. Indepen- 
dent stations, which are more likely than net- 
work affiliates to be minority-owned, have also 
suffered from drops and channel realignments. 
Cable's reshuffling of channel line-ups picked 
up speed beginning in November 1986, when 
cable operators stepped up preparations for the 
deregulation of their basic subscription rates 
on January 1, 1987, as stipulated in the 1984 
Cable Act. The realignments reached the point 
where both the president of the National Cable 
Television Association and Edward Markey (D- 
Massachusetts), chair of the House Telecom- 
munications Subcommittee, had to warn cable 
operators not to go overboard with excessive 
switching or wholesale dumping, or they could 
expect political trouble — i.e., re-regulation. 

The FCC's new must-carry rules were model- 
ed after a version of must-carry drawn up in 
early 1986, following Quincy, by five cable 
and broadcasting trade associations. The Na- 
tional Association of Broadcasters, the Com- 
munity Antenna Television Association, the 



National Cable Television Association, the 
Television Operators Caucus, and the Associ- 
ation of Independent Television Stations took 
on the task of writing carriage regulations 
themselves, since the FCC refused to do so 
and also refused to appeal the Quincy decision 
to the Supreme Court. During their marriage 
of convenience, the broadcast and cable 
industries hammered out a compromise. 
Cable, the victor in Quincy, agreed to rein- 
stitute limited must-carry regulations if the 
broadcast industry would grant it some im- 
portant political concessions — namely, that 
broadcasters recognize cable as an equal, not 
ancillary, delivery system; that broadcasters 
not press Congress or the FCC to get rid of the 
compulsory license rule (which enables cable 
operators to retransmit broadcast signals in 
exchange for federally set copyright fees, 
rather than bid for programs in the market); 
and that broadcasters keep out of the battle 
between Hollywood and cable over copyright. 

The industry compromise scaled back 
carriage requirements from all local broadcast 
stations to a limited number determined by 
the individual cable system's channel capacity. 
Specific requirements regarding public tele- 
vision's carriage were not included. (Neither 
the Public Broadcasting Service, the National 
Association of Public Television Stations, nor 
the National Coalition for Minority Broad- 
casters were invited to the inter-industry 
sessions to discuss the must-carry compro- 
mise.) When the FCC reworked the industry 
document into its first revised version of must- 
carry (approved August 1986 and issued in 
writing in November), it did introduce limited 
protection for public television. Systems with 
fewer than 54 channels were to carry one 
public television station, and those with 54 or 
more must carry at least two, if available. 
This must-carry provision for public television 
stands as is in the latest version, despite the 
lobbying efforts of NAPTS for carriage of all 
public television stations. The new must-carry 
rules will go into effect 30 days after their 
appearance in the Federal Register. 

The new rules also retain the "sunset provi- 
sion," relieving cable operators of all carriage 
requirements after five years. Thus, in 1992, 
cable operators will be free to carry or drop 
any stations they choose. As a way of protect- 
ing new or smaller independents stations from 
exclusion, not to mention public television, 
the FCC came up with the idea of requiring 
cable operators to provide and install input or 
A/B switches for all subscribers. These 



switches would allow viewers to flip back and 
forth between cable and over-air reception. 
According to the FCC's reasoning, five years 
would be enough time to educate consumers 
about A/B switches, and carriage regulation 
after this period would be unnecessary. 

The A/B switch, along with the five-year 
sunset, was not in the inter-industry compro- 
mise and had few supporters outside the FCC. 
Both the cable and broadcast industries dispar- 
aged it on technical, practical, and financial 
grounds. Nonetheless, the FCC retained the 
A/B switch in its latest must-carry document. 
It made one significant change, however, 
which was to allow cable operators to charge 
whatever they wish for such switches. The 
consumer, rather than the cable companies, 
will be absorbing the projected $1.4-billion in 
costs. 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting acting 
president Donald Ledwig quickly criticized the 
FCC's new rules, saying, "The FCC continues 
to believe that A/B switches.. .are a solution to 
must-carry for public television. Even where 
the switch would be helpful, it is no solution to 
let the cable operator charge an arm and a leg 
for the switches and their installation. And it 
is no solution at all for those who cannot get a 
clear over-the-air signal." In a more pointed 
statement to Current, NAPTS president Peter 
Fannon said, "The people of this country de- 
serve better than this twisted rule and perverted 
reasoning. We strongly urge everyone to ask the 
Congress to get the facts and to act to protect 
the future of public television." 

In all likelihood, the FCC's must-carry docu- 
ment will not be the last word on the issue. 
While commercial and public broadcasting 
are anxious for carriage protection as soon as 
possible, they also plan to fight must-carry's 
sunset provision and A/B switch option. NAB 
president Eddie Fritts said, "The sunset was 
not part of the industry compromise, and is 
something we vow will never happen." The 
Association of Independent Television Sta- 
tions issued a statement saying, "There is sim- 
ply no justification, reason or excuse for sun- 
setting these rules in five years." Deploring 
cables' "numerous anticompetitive tactics," 
INTV said that in light of "such lucrative 
subsidies as compulsory license, the only rea- 
sonable public policy toward this unregulated 
monopoly has to be some minimal level of 
regulation." 

Any efforts by the industry trade groups to 
lobby against the revisions will most likely be 
backed by key Congressional figures. Markey, 
who called the revised rules "outrageous," 
stated in a speech to the NAB, "I have no 
doubt there is no support for this in Congress." 
He also warned that the FCC's "dogmatism 
might drive Congress to legislate." A special 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



hearing on must-carry in Markey's subcom- 
mittee is likely. In addition, when the FCC 
appears before the Senate Communications 
Subcommittee in April for its authorization 
hearing, the must-carry revision is bound to 
be on the agenda. 

The first serious challenge to the new must- 
carry rules will probably occur in the courts. 
Several cable companies and Turner Broad- 
casting System, who would like to see any 
form of must-carry abolished as unconstitu- 
tional, are seeking a court stay of must-carry's 
implementation. They are being represented 
by the same law firm that represented Quincy 
Cable TV in 1985. If they are successful, must- 
carry could be hung up for the next two to 
three years, during the court reviews. 
NAPTS's vice president and general counsel, 
Baryn Futa, believes that a stay is likely. The 
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of 
Columbia — the same court that decided 
Quincy — will be considering the request. 
While the panel of judges might well be 
different than that in Quincy, Futa notes that 
"the D.C. Circuit has a track record of being 
fairly broad or generous in what it perceives 
as First Amendment protection." This points 
to a decision favorable to cable. Futa does not 
expect to see any definite action on this for 
some time, however, a briefing schedule might 
appear sometime in late summer or early fall, 
and oral arguments could begin before the end 
of the year. 

Now that the FCC has approved a version of 
must-carry, having dragged its feet as long as 
Congress would tolerate, it's up to the broad- 
cast industry and its constituents to persuade 
Congress or the FCC to eliminate the sunset 
provision. They have five years to do so, or 
must prevail in an intervening court battle to 
win the cable/broadcast war. 

PATRICIA THOMSON 



REFUGEE REFUSE 

Canadian independents and civil libertarians 
have allied to fight the deportation order 
against Salvadoran refugee Victor Manuel 
Regalado Brito. The 38 year-old journalist 
and filmmaker was first exiled from his 
country in 1980 by a Salvadoran junta. Two 
years later he sought political refugee status in 
Canada but discovered that he had already been 
identified as a subversive and "threat to the 
national interest or security" by government 
officials because of a previous speaking tour of 
the country on behalf of the solidarity 
movement with El Salvador. Canadian immi- 
gration returned Regalado to his originating 
point in the United States, where he was 
incarcerated in the Plattsburg, New York, jail 
before being transferred back to Canada for 
another two months in prison. After intense 
public pressure, Regalado was granted "con- 
ditional freedom," and embarked on a five- 




Video Software // Interest Group 



AN OPEN LETTER 

TO VIDEO 

AND FILM PRODUCERS 

FROM VIDEO-SIG 



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JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 5 




year battle to regain his refugee status in 
Canada. Meanwhile, he studied communica- 
tions in Montreal and joined the independent 
film cooperative Mainfilm. Last year he began 
his first feature project, Washington, D.C., the 
story of a young Latin American exile's con- 
frontation with U.S. immigration officials. 
But this February, the Supreme Court of 
Canada rejected Regalado 's appeal for a 
change in status, and a deportation order was 
issued. As a result, Mainfilm and other sup- 
porters have organized a defense campaign to 
urge the Canadian government to stop the 
deportation proceedings. Information can be 
obtained from: Victor Regalado Support Com- 
mittee, Civil Liberties Union, 1825 Cham- 
plain, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2L 2S9. 

RENEETAJIMA 



PBS POLICY REVIEW 

The report of the committee convened by the 
Public Broadcasting Service to examine its 
policies and procedures concerning program- 
ming [see "Board in Flames: Conservatives 
Take Control at CPB," January/February 
1987 and "Sequels," May 1987] was released 
in April. The committee, chaired by PBS 
board member and former FCC chair E. 
William Henry, affirmed the position that 
PBS program policies "should make it clear 
that PBS will not allow any improper efforts 
to influence its programming process or 
program content." The recently abandoned 
proposal for a study of the content of public 
affairs programs aired by PBS to be initiated 
by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 
advocated by former board member Richard 
Brookhiser, and the controversy surrounding 
National Endowment for the Humanities 
funding of The Africans series could be con- 
sidered efforts addressed by this caveat. A 
PBS press release quoted Henry on this point: 
"We believe it is essential that PBS programs 
be free of any editorial interference on the 
part of funders or others who seek improperly 
to influence program content, whether govern- 
mental or private." 
The committee also recommended that PBS 

6 THE INDEPENDENT 



For Salvadoran 
filmmaker-journalist 
Victor Manuel 
Regalado Brito, the 
war at home is still 
being fought in 
Canada, where he is 
seeking political 
refuge in face of a 
Supreme Court 
deportation order. 

Courtesy MainFilm 



adopt a "courage and controversy" standard, 
strengthening a "commitment to include pro- 
grams in its schedule that present viewpoints 
from outside society's existing consensus or 
that challenge conventional ideas" and devise 
specific methods for presenting point-of-view 
programs in response to PBS fare. PBS 
president Bruce Christensen subsequently an- 
nounced plans for 60-second spots allowing 
viewers' opinions to be aired. 

Concerning standards of "objectivity and 
balance," the report confirmed that this provi- 
sion applies to PBS's overall schedule, not 
individual programs. At the same time, the 
committee underscored "PBS's authority to 
seek independent verification of a program's 
accuracy, and to reject a program if a pro- 
ducer cannot verify material factual assertions 
or fails to correct material errors." 

In 1971 PBS issued a "Statement of Policy 
on Program Standards and Practices," and, in 
1972, a "Document on Journalism Standards 
and Guidelines." Without disowning these 
directives, the committee suggested revisions, 
based on the identified need for clarification 
"to keep pace with changes in PBS's pro- 
gramming role and procedures." The report 
has been forwarded to the PBS board of 
directors for approval and will be voted upon 
at its April 29 meeting. 

MARTHA GEVER 



COKE IS IT 

Coca-Cola, the parent organization of 
Columbia Pictures, has agreed to finance an 
initiative to bring new talent into studio film 
production. The Discovery Program will pro- 
vide up to $30,000 in production money to 
each of six live-action short films, to enable 
professionals in various motion picture crafts 
to get a chance to direct. The project is run by 
Chanticleer Films, a new venture of Jonathan 
Sanger (Elephant Man) and attorney-agent 
Jana Sue Memel, the originators of the 
Discovery idea. Sanger calls Discovery a non- 
profit undertaking, although its focus is on 
projects with commercial appeal. According 
to administrator Hilary Anne Ripps, the select- 



ed film projects are intended as resume reels 
for presentation to studios. The six finalists 
will receive production cash and in-kind assis- 
tance, and each film will be produced by 
Sanger and/or Memel. In return, each of the 
first-time directors will guarantee Chanticleer 
first look at any projects in development, with 
the stipulation that a minimum of one of 
their first three feature films will be produced 
by the company and distributed by Columbia. 
The application deadline for the first year of 
the Discovery Program was May 1, but plans 
for the second year include expansion to 10 
projects. 

RT 

EMPIRE BUILDERS 

With a grant from the New York State 
Council on the Arts, the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film has undertaken 
a study of the feasibility of a New York State 
Independent Production Fund that would 
commission and distribute works by New York 
State video and film artists for and in 
conjunction with the New York State public 
television system. 

The study will survey current sources of pro- 
duction funding available to New York State 
film- and videomakers and explore precedents 
for independent/public television collabora- 
tions, such as WNET's TV Lab and In- 
dependent Documentary Fund, American Play- 
house, and the Learning Channel, as well as 
foreign models of government financing of 
independent work, such as the Australia and 
Ontario Film Commissions, and television 
systems' sponsorship of independent produc- 
tion, such as that of Britain's Channel Four 
and ZDF in West Germany. 

The new fund, if ultimately established, 
would supplement the traditional funding 
avenues open to New York State media- 
makers: the NYSCA Film and Media Pro- 
grams, the New York Council on the Humani- 
ties^ media grants, and New York Foundation 
for the Arts fellowships. Unlike existing grant- 
making entities, the fund would have a man- 
date to develop innovative packaging and 
distribution strategies, and to work closely 
with the state public television system, to 
provide high quality independent program- 
ming for New York State. 

The study is being researched and written by 
Debra Goldman, a freelance journalist and 
former associate editor of The Independent, 
and is expected to be completed by Summer 
1987. 

TWO FUNDS 
ANNOUNCED 

When the Film Fund, one of the few sources 
of support earmarked for social issue-oriented 
media, closed shop a year ago, the fate of 

JUNE 1987 




a 




3HL 



several specialized "donor advised" accounts 
was left up in the air. During the intervening 
months, ex-Film Fund program officer Lillian 
Jimenez administered dispursal of grants from 
the Beldon Fund, the Benton Foundation, the 
Boehm Foundation, the CarEth Foundation, 
and the Women's Project to film- and video- 
makers who had applied to the now-defunct 
Film Fund. In 1987 these accounts found two 
new homes — with the Beldon and Benton grants 
forming the core of the Foundation for Inde- 
pendent Video and Film's new Donor- Advised 
Film and Video Fund [see information on page 
36 in this issue] and at the Funding Exchange's 
recently established Paul Robeson Fund for 
Film and Video. For the current round of grant- 
making, Jimenez is acting as consultant for both 
projects. 

Incorporating the mechanisms developed for 
donor advised accounts at the Film Fund, 
both funds will convene peer panels to screen 
applicants' work and recommend grant recipi- 
ents. The Benton Foundation and the Beldon 
Fund, through the FIVF fund, will concen- 
trate on media projects dealing with peace 
and environmental issues. Together, the two 
foundations will distribute about $35,000 in 
September 1987. However, with an eye toward 
the future, the Benton Foundation has also 
provided FIVF with a grant to do outreach to 
the foundation community in an effort to 
expand the fund. Guidelines and applications 
are available from FIVF. Send a stamped, self- 
addressed envelope to FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 

The Paul Robeson Fund's guidelines will 
solicit work within the more general category 
of social issue media. Jimenez reports that 
during its first year, only single film and video 
production and distribution efforts will be 
considered for support through the Robeson 
Fund, but the Funding Exchange foresees 
expanding eligibility to include special projects 
that promote social issue media, such as 
exhibitions and publications. And the Funding 
Exchange hopes to add $75,000 in discretion- 
ary money to the donations of the private 
foundations now participating, raising the sum 
available well above its present level of 
$225,000. The deadline for 1987 Paul Robeson 
Fund grants was May 1, but information 
about 1988 grants application procedures can 
be obtained from the Funding Exchange, 666 
Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 

SEQUELS 

Four nominations for the CPB board of 
directors now await Senate confirmation 
["Sequels," April 1987]. The most recent 
nominee whose name was sent to Congress by 
the White House is Archie Purvis, senior vice 
president of ABC Distribution, a Democrat. 
The board, which should consist of 10 mem- 
bers, now counts only four. 



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JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



FIELD REPORT 




EYES ON THE PRIZE: AFI SEMINAR EXAMINES 
BLACK PARTICIPATION IN AMERICAN MEDIA 



Monona Wali 



Contemporary Black Perspectives in American 
Media, a seminar held February 21 at the Ameri- 
can Film Institute campus in Los Angeles, was 
not just another how-to-get-a-break-in-the-busi- 
ness event preaching the old truisms of persis- 
tence and perserverance to naive industry hope- 
fuls. It proved to be an extraordinary gathering 
that gave not only a practical outlook on the 
film and television industry but also a historical 
and emotional overview seen through the eyes 
of 26 panelists and invited speakers, whose 
depth and breadth of experience would have 
qualified any one of them to conduct a day-long 
seminar alone. 

The event was organized by Carroll Parrott 
Blue, an independent documentary filmmaker 
and assistant professor of telecommunications 
at San Diego State University. She developed 
the seminar over a period of three months 
while an instructor-in-residence at AFI, and 
judging by the packed house (participants paid 
$90 to attend), the first-time event proved a suc- 
cess. The high quality of professionalism in the 
panels was matched only by the high quality of 
the audience. In the question and answer ses- 
sions, it became clear that there were many film 
and television producers, writers, directors, ac- 
tors, and actresses in attendance. And they did 
not hesitate to make the panelists accountable 
for their actions and opinions, providing for 
several lively encounters over the course of the 
day. Blue warned the audience that they would 
be assaulted with information because she want- 
ed to cover no less that 27 perspectives on the 
entertainment media, including the academic, 
creative, corporate, legislative, and alternative 
aspects. With such a broad range, the seminar 
ran the danger of being spread too thin, but the 
high level of enthusiasm and generosity of the 
panelists kept the pace enjoyable, while 
breathless. 

James Snead, associate professor of English 
and Comparative Literature at Yale and a schol- 
ar of Joyce and Faulkner, set the tone for the 
day with a 20-minute presentation on the treat- 
ment of blacks in moving-image media. Going 
beyond the general bemoaning of stereotypical 
images of blacks, Snead presented a scholarly 
breakdown of the processes of racism on the ba- 
sis of three basic principles: 1. mythification: 
covering history with fantasy and myth, 2. mark- 
ing: where the visual and aural contrast between 
blacks and whites are exaggerated for cinematic 
and political reasons, marking the blacks as 



black and different as possible, and 3. omission: 
the exclusion of positive images of blacks. "We 
tend to believe what we see, but also see what 
we want to believe," Snead said, citing the ex- 
ample of the theme of the white woman threat- 
ened by the black savage as a popular Holly- 
wood device. He illustrated his point with three 
film clips that demonstrated that very little had 
changed in Hollywood's depiction of blacks, 
beginning with a clip from Griffith's Birth of a 
Nation, followed by one from the recent remake 
of King Kong and another from a James Bond 
film, featuring wild, black natives dancing sav- 
agely in front of their white female prey. Snead 
left the most important question of the day on 
the table: Would the increased presence of 
blacks on and off the screen make an impact on 
the future of black and minority images in films 
and television? 

The subsequent panels were organized into 
four subject areas. In the first, "The Creative 
Community of Film and Television," both 
positive and negative experiences of being 
black and working in the industry were examin- 
ed. Pamela Douglas, a past member of the board 
of directors of the Writers Guild of America and 
a screen writing instructor at the University of 
Southern California, introduced the first bone of 
contention when she pronounced that "solutions 
reside not in retracing the crimes and mysteries 
of the past, but in charting a fresh course." Mem- 
bers of the audience tackled her on the wisdom 
of this philosophy, arguing that too much his- 
tory has been denied to ignore it. Douglas then 
defended her position that the constant re- 
examining of black history "roots us in a place 
that's like molasses." Having said that, she 
admitted that her last project was a two-hour 
movie biography of the life of the nineteenth- 
century black feminist abolitionist Sojourner 
Truth. She explained the difficulty of getting 
project assignments that did not dwell on the 
past and that she was struggling to get her pet 
project — a movie of life on the first space 
station — off the ground. 

Throughout the seminar it became clear that 
a lot of research had been done examining 
not only on-screen racism but also the off- 
screen hiring practices in the industry. One of 
the ironies of the day, however, was receiving 
facts and figures that confirmed the minority 
status of blacks in the industry from such an im- 
pressive array of black professionals who had 
obviously overcome the odds in the last 20 
years — not only as members of the entertain- 
ment business but as influential and powerful 
members. Some of the more depressing statis- 



tics came from Toey Caldwell, a national board 
member of the Screen Actors Guild and a nation- 
al and local member of Association of Film, 
Television, and Radio Actors. He presented an 
overview of what it meant to be a black actor or 
actress in 1985 (the year for which the most 
current statistics have been compiled), adding 
that 1986 showed no signs of improvement. In 
the film world, the major studios employed 
2,122 performers in featured roles, of which 
only 246 were black: 174 black actors and 18 
black actresses. Episodic TV hired 20,838 per- 
formers, of which 1,712 were black (eight per- 
cent): 1,230 black males and 482 females. The 
statistics got worse, Caldwell said, when inde- 
pendent film and television producers were 
added to the list, and even more bleak when 
commercials were taken into account. "Life for 
a black actor is no life at all, and if you're a 
black actress you're very near extinction." Cald- 
well admitted that there was little to be done to 
change the film industry, but lobbying Congress 
could produce results in television since televi- 
sion stations and broadcasters are subject to 
regulation by the Federal Communication 
Commission. Caldwell concluded, "It's very 
clear to me if we are going to stop this injustice, 
we as members of the black creative community 
must come together and challenge the status quo 
by creating an alternative industry of, by, and 
for black Americans. It is time black people 
take control of our lives." 

If any area seems to offer promising inroads 
for blacks and other minorities, cable and home 
video — the relatively new frontiers of the indus- 
try — would be the place. The second panel 
addressed this, but the prognosis was hardly 
optimistic. It was quickly pointed out that the 
inner cities have yet to be wired for cable, mak- 
ing it difficult for black programmers to target 
their logical audiences. Robert Johnson, presi- 
dent of Black Entertainment Television, the 
only cable service dedicated exclusively to 
black programming, argued that the same power 
bases that control television and film controlled 
cable and home video, for example. Time, Inc., 
Viacom, ABC, CBS, etc. Even his own BET is 
partly owned by Taft Entertainment. "The indus- 
try is very consolidated in its ownership struc- 
ture, and as a result of that the opportunities to 
penetrate that from a business and creative point 
are very difficult. Hollywood and cable TV, 
being a part of it, tend to turn to the same group 
for programming. I think if there's going to be a 
significant opportunity for a minority voice to 
be heard in the entertainment business we're 
going to have to control the distribution." 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



Johnson was promptly confronted by a member 
of the audience who had produced a TV series 
that Johnson had turned down. The producer 
wanted to know why BET programmed mainly 
music videos (of black entertainers) and not 
more dramatic and documentary material pro- 
duced by black independents. Put on the defen- 
sive, Johnson cited the same problems that all 
programmers face — ratings and advertising 
dollars. Apparently, even with blacks at the 
helm, financial problems were determining pro- 
gramming choices. 

In keeping with the theme of business 
practices, Marvina Hunter of ABC Video Enter- 
prises advised the seminar audience to clarify 
their target audiences and analyze which mar- 
kets offered the greatest potential for blacks, 
which products were best-suited, and how to 
maximize revenue. She cited the monopolistic 
control of the home video distribution industry 
with 35 distributors doing 90 percent of the busi- 
ness. Charles Hobson, senior programming ex- 
ecutive at WETA-Washington, who was execu- 
tive producer of the controversial The Africans 
series, stressed that the audience should look for 
new methods of financing, and mentioned his 
own efforts at producing a soundtrack album, 
trade books, and a college curriculum to accom- 
pany his programs. 

The third panel of the day, "Network 
Television and Its Suppliers," featured heavy- 
weights like Phyllis Tucker Vinson, vice presi- 
dent of Children's and Family Programming at 
NBC, Frank Dawson, an independent producer 
working at Universal Studios, Ronald Taylor, 
vice president of Drama Development at War- 
ner Brothers, and Julian Fowles, executive pro- 
ducer at public television station KCET in Los 
Angeles. Of all the panels, this one reflected 
most clearly what it's like to work within a staid 
and entrenched system. All the panelists had 
worked their way up through the ranks of either 
the networks or the network suppliers, and their 
collective experience indicated that it was a 
rough road both in and out of the mainstream. 
Phyllis Tucker Vinson was applauded for her in- 
sistence on programming that reflected the 
racial diversity of America. Ronald Taylor ad- 
dressed the theme of anger and bitterness that 
surfaced more than once during the day. "Leave 
it behind," he said. Taylor went so far as to sug- 
gest that black writers develop comic material 



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because making people laugh was the best way 
to get through the door. 

Members of this panel also expressed hope for 
the future because of the changing demo- 
graphics of the country. At the moment blacks 
make up nine percent of network viewers, but in 
the not-so-distant future they will account for 20 
percent. Given these numbers, as well as the 
fact that by the year 2080, Hispanics, blacks, 
and Asians will constitute more than half of the 
population of the United States, network televi- 
sion will have to conform to new demographic 
realities. 

Marketing, distribution, and exhibition were 
tackled as the final subject. And again, it was 
impressive to see the kinds of progress that had 
been made by black professionals. Nelson Ben- 
nett, president of the Baldwin Entertainment 
Complex, told one of the most interesting 
stories of the day — his three-theater complex in 
the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles (once 
considered the Beverly Hills of the black 
community) is the only first-run black-owned 
theater in a black community in the U.S. At one 
point, he was forced to sue the major studios to 
get first-run movies in his theater. A veteran of 
12 years in the United Artists chain of 
theaters — working his way up from popcorn 
salesman to manager — and Twentieth Century 
Fox distribution, Bennett was able to beat the 
system because of his insider knowledge of the 
workings of the distribution business. 



The day's highlight occured in the closing 
remarks made by Frances Williams, an actress 
and activist who has worked in the entertain- 
ment business for over 60 years. She starred in 
two Oscar Micheaux films and appeared in 
Showboat and The River Niger. She attended the 
seminar on a day off from shooting Rented Lips, 
a new film by Robert Downey. Williams spoke 
to the audience as if she were coaching a sports 
team, rallying and cajoling them to keep fight- 
ing, based on years of her own experience. She 
reminisced that when Ronald Reagan was 
president of the Screen Actors Guild she headed 
a minority committee to encourage the hiring of 
black performers: "Reagan disbanded the com- 
mittee even then." Williams told the audience, 
"Remember to be alert. See the whole [chess] 
board. Everytime you leave a situation you have 
to make it better for the next person — that's 
your job." And finally, to great applause, she 
advised: "Meet it. Greet it. And defeat it." 



Monona Wali is an writer and an independent 
filmmaker in Los Angeles. 



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JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



IN FOCUS 




BLOW UP: BUDGET-CUTTING 
VIDEO-TO-35MM PRODUCTION 




Filmmaker-actor Rob 
Nilsson and 
Consuelo Faust in a 
scene from the 
experimental tape- 
to-film feature Heat 
and Sunlight. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Mia Amato 



A few years ago West Coast independent Rob 
Nilsson released a groundbreaking film. Signal 
7, an improvisational drama with a miniscule 
budget, shot on 3/4-inch videotape transferred 
to 35mm. Nilsson's latest film. Heat And Sun- 
light, demonstrates how he has honed both his 
improvisational style and his video technique — 
in this case shooting in the 1/2-inch Betacam 
format, using only the green tube of a three-tube 
video camera, and transferring the footage to 
35mm black and white film. 

Besides directing, Nilsson also wrote and 
stars in Heat And Sunlight, a coproduction of 
his Berkeley-based New Front Alliance and 
Steve and Hildy Burns' Snowball Productions 
Ltd. The Burnses are still photographers and 
have a corporate communications company in 
San Francisco. They share producers' credits 
and created all the black and white still photo- 
graphs for Nilsson's protagonist — a photojourn- 
alist tormented by jealous love. The stills also 
set the style for the film and its high-contrast 
images created by the use of video-to-black-and- 



white. "We shot in tape primarily for style, but a 
style dictated by economics," says Nilsson. 
"One of the things we tried to do with Signal 7 
and have tried to do on this film is open up a 
new way to work, without compromising to the 
economic demands of the system." 

Steve Burns points out that shooting on Beta- 
cam was particularly suitable for Nilsson's im- 
provisional direction. "One of the things tape 
allows you to do is shoot for 20 minutes without 
stopping," he says. Such creative freedom also 
comes cheap, at least in terms of tape stock. 
Speaking at a film seminar in Minneapolis a few 
months ago, Nilsson compared figures for the 
first few days of shooting, black and white 
35mm versus Beta videocassettes: a probable 
cost of $29,000 versus his actual expense of just 
$270 for the cassettes. 

The film was a challenge on many levels. With 
the dialogue improvised and the action largely 
unscripted, sets were lit 360° and scenes shot 
with two cameras rolling at the same time. One 
scene shot in a moving car used two cameras in 
the back seat to cover two actors conversing in 
the front, with a sound man and the technical 
director crouched below the auto's seats. The 



production also stretched over many months. 
"Because we couldn't afford to hire everybody 
for two weeks, we had to wait until people were 
available," explains Burns. A love scene be- 
tween Nilsson and dancer Consuelo Faust that 
occurs near the end of the film, for example, 
was shot first to accomodate her schedule; over 
the course of shooting, nine different camera 
operators were taught Nilsson's improv techni- 
que. "It's quite demanding," says director of 
photography Tomas Tucker, "and all hand- 
held." 

To shoot black and white video with a color 
recording system, no technical modifications of 
the cameras, Ikegami HL-79EALs, were re- 
quired. A test circuit panel allows the camera 
operator to view output from each of the color 
tubes separately, Tucker explains, and it was 
this test output, normally fed into the viewfinder 
or test monitor, that was recorded on videotape. 

"All you do is turn one switch on to monitor, 
and one switch to G [for green]," Tucker says. 
Why the green tube? "We found green gave us 
the best flesh tones and the best grey scale." But 
it remained for technical director Milt Wallace 
and Bay Area "video expert" Jim Rollins to find 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



a way to record a single-tube signal on compo- 
nent videotape. Their solution, after much test- 
ing, was to record a composite video signal 
using component video field recorders. "Both 
the Sony B VU- 1 A and B VW-25 will take a com- 
posite video input," says Wallace. "But the re- 
corder decodes the signal and lays it down on 
tape in component form. It is played back as 
composite through the composite output." 
Ordinary 50 and 60 foot cables were used to con- 
nect the cameras to recorders at a monitoring 
station set up at each location by Wallace with 
teams of cable pullers keeping the wires free as 
cast and camera operators moved constantly to 
shoot each scene. 

The resulting 60 hours of videocassette footage 
was edited by Henk Van Eeghen into a film 
slightly under two hours in length. Varitel 
Video in San Francisco provided off-line and on- 
line equipment in exchange for an equity posi- 
tion in the project. According to Burns, all that 
is left is the final audio mix and the transfer to 
35mm black and white film, which will be done 
by Image Transform at an estimated cost of 
$25,000-30,000. 

"Our total budget — with lawyers and every- 
thing — is about $485,000," says Burns. The cost 
of shooting the film was only $68,000. "Every- 
one deferred their salaries. For every dollar 
deferred, they have some equity in the film. If, 
for example, someone had deferred $1,000 and 
the film makes money, they will receive that 
back plus the equity." According to Burns, 
"somewhere between 80 and 100 people" 
participated, and many contributed equipment 
or cash as well. Larger sums have come from 
investors who are limited partners. 

Test footage from Image Transform (which 
handled the tape-to-color film conversion of 
Signal 7) shows a rich, dramatic chiaroscuro. 
While Signal 7 was often murky, the tests for 
Heat and Sunlight illustrate that use of a higher- 
quality camera and tape recording format is suc- 
cessful in decreasing light "smearing" and 
increasing picture detail. "Using the single tube 
should give us a sharper picture because regis- 
tration between the tubes is no longer neces- 
sary," Nilsson observes. "The tests have indi- 
cated you need to work with gamma control 
[during the transfer], because otherwise you 
can't get the right contrast." 

Other Bay Area independents have also begun 
to use this new technique. Director Peter Adair 
(Word Is Out, The AIDS Show) recently used 
green-tube-only for an industrial film that inter- 
cut tape-to-film footage with archival black and 
white film for a Zelig effect. A shorter 
industrial, mastered on video, was also produc- 
ed locally with green-tube mono. "I don't know 
why more people don't use it," says Nilsson. 
"My purpose is to continue to do work, not to 
cut corners, but to devise new ways to work in 
film." 

Mia Amato covers film and tape on bo'h coasts 
for a variety of publications. 



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Alan Zdinak 



On a balmy autumn evening in lower Manhattan 
a film crew gets poised for "action" as music 
video director Zbigniew Rybczynski bellows, 
"Everybody ready? Paul, playback please!" 
"Paul" is sound engineer Paul Bachmann. And 
playback is — well, it ought to be Lou Reed's 
"The Original Wrapper." But the plodding indus- 
trial clamor that clanks out of Bachmann' s 
speakers is a far cry from the funk and scratch 
attack of Reed's paean to healthy skepticism. 
Still, the action staggers along to the drowsy 
rhythm like some neo-expressionist ballet. The 
lethargic soundtrack is "The Original Wrap- 
per" — played back at one-third speed. For Bach- 
mann, as resident sound man at Rybczynski- 
Vision, such sonic shenanigans are par for the 
course. 

In the completed video, the rappers will 
bounce along in perfect sync to the synthesizer 
riffs. They'll slap the lids down on their human 
parcels to the snap of a snare drum. It's the sort 
of manic visualization of a song for which 
director/cameraman/editor Rybczynski is notori- 
ous. In his painstaking efforts to accurately 
illustrate the music, the man never misses a 
beat. And in precisionist work like Rybczyn- 
ski's, where action and edits take specific musi- 
cal cues, sync on the set is a critical concern. 
. As in The Original Wrapper video, Rybczynski 
often complicates things further by directing 
talent to perform to music played back at 
unnatural speeds. How does Bachmann cope? 
"Swiss accuracy," he'll retort. And he's not 
simply flexing his national pride. For music 
playback, Bachmann employs a Swiss-made 
Nagra reel-to-reel tape recorder. With its quartz 
crystal sync generator, the Nagra is something 
of a film industry standard, although it is not un- 
common to see less sync-finicky music video 
productions do without. Rybczynski also has a 
crystal sync motor on his Arriflex BL3 camera. 
This does not add up to technical sync, Bach- 
mann demures. That would require the camera 
to be "slaved" — plugged into — the Nagra, or 
vice versa, so that the sync of one motor could 
be regulated by the other. What is achieved, 
though, is a self-resolving system. Since camera 
and playback have internal sync regulation, 
while operating independently each is constant. 
As long as the action, cued by the playback, is 
on the beat, sync on the editing table is ensured. 
In videos for the Art of Noise and Yoko 
Ono, Rybczynski used playback at half-speed 
but filmed at the standard 24 frames-per-second. 
He edited the resulting double-time footage by 
deleting frames to put the action back in sync 
with the now normal-speed soundtrack. On The 
Original Wrapper, Rybczynski wanted to shoot 
at eight fps and have the playback at an equi- 
valent one-third of the standard speed. Beyond 
half-speed, however, the reducible operating 



speed ratios of the Arri and the Nagra are not 
the same. Bachmann had to take the one-inch 
master of the song to a transfer studio and, 
working with the frame counter, dub the song to 
1/4-inch tape at a resolution approximating 
eight fps — a decidedly nonstandard speed. 
Then, playing back the tape on the Nagra at 7 
1/2 ips, he matched the operating speed of 
Rybczynski 's camera, resulting in a cartoon 
effect on screen. 

This symbiotic relationship between playback, 
the performers, and the camera becomes even 
more involved in a system Bachmann and 
Rybczynski developed and used effectively on 
clips for Yoko Ono, Blancmange, and the Fat 
Boys. The process begins with an analysis of 
the song. Rybczynski and Bachmann break it 
down, to the last beat, and translate it onto paper 
in Rybczynski 's own system of notation. Bach- 
mann dubs the one-inch master of the song 
provided by the record label to 1/4-inch tape 
with 60 hz pilot tone for Nagra sync. Using their 
schematic analysis as a guide, he edits the dub 
on a mobile 1/4-inch deck. There might be as 
many as 40 or 50 edits for a three-minute song. 
Bachmann splices one end of an edit to another 
to create a closed loop which will play a bar or 
two of the song over and over again, ad 
infinitum, in a seamless rhythm. 

To play back his closed loops on the set 
Bachmann had to jerry-rig his Nagra. He runs 
the tape through the Nagra's open transport sys- 
tem as usual, but dispenses with the feed and 
take-up reels. Instead, he stretches the tape 
straight out the back and loops it around a single 
reel spindled on a ball-point pen gaffer-taped to 
a grip stand (a tripedal stand indigenous to film 
sets). "It does look a little stone age, but we like 
the idea of using ordinary items in a high-tech 
environment. It's amusing, and most impor- 
tantly, it works." Still, he admits, it took some 
practice. But by moving the stand in or out and 
using a playback speed of 7 1/2 ips to keep the 
loops at a manageable length, Bachmann is able 
to finesse tape tension and regulate sync. 

The obvious production advantage of Bach- 
mann's closed loop system is to silence once 
and for all the oft heard AD's lament, "Waiting 
on sound recue." For a given take, playback can 
be continuous. Between shots the volume can be 
reduced to a subliminal level, helping keep the 
talent in the groove and a weary crew on its 
toes. When the director is ready to shoot, just 
hike the decibels and you're ready for rapid 
retakes. 

Back on West Broadway, even with the near- 
perpetual playback, Bachmann can't seem to 
relax on the Lou Reed set. He must be forever 
vigilant lest some unwary crew person should 
strut through his strung out loop like a marathon 
winner. Talk about the Swiss Guard. 

Alan Zdinak is a freelance writer and storyboard 
artist. 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



An Outsider's Aesthetic 

CONTEMPORARY INDEPENDENT FILM IN CANADA 




In Next of Kin, one of 
director Atom 
Egoyan's 

postmodern made- 
in-Toronto features, a 
young WASP- 
Canadian man tries 
to adopt an 
Armenian family. 

All photos courtesy 
Canadian Film- Video Export 



Geoff Pevere 



Everything I do I could be doing it or not, and it wouldn't matter 
either way. 

— Van, in Atom Egoyan's Family Viewing 

Generally speaking, the stories told by the Canadian cinema for the 
past quarter century have been the stories of losers: accounts of people 
who are defined not by what they are able to achieve and do, but by 
what they wish to do and cannot. People, that is, who don't matter.* 
The persistence with which Canadians make films (and write books 
and poems and plays) about nonachievers can only be understood as a 
bona-fide cultural phenomenon, the distinctive expression of a 
cultural voice that — significantly — is convinced it has no cultural 
voice. For Canadians, the conviction that we have no culturally distin- 
guishing marks, and the subsequent sense of collective alienation from 
self and homeland this conviction instills, is itself the defining charac- 
teristic of a national culture. 

It should not be surprising that, in this context, much time is spent in 
an effort to identify and claim cultural things which are unques- 
tionably ours. For Canadians, the process of identifying culturally 
distinct forms of expression is not just an academic conceit; it is a 
necessary form of resistance. In fact, this impulse to divide-and- 

* For the most part, this article refers to films made by English Canadians. 
Independent French-language feature production in Quebec is sufficiently 
distinct, historically, politically, and aesthetically, to comprise a national 
cinema. Fortified culturally by an indigenous language and history of resis- 
tance, Quebec spends considerably less time than English Canada wondering 
what it is or arguing about what it isn't. 



distinguish has been sufficiently prevalent in Canadian cultural discus- 
sion to ensure that the predominant project of criticism in Canada 
has been the cleaving of identifiably "Canadian" cultural forms from 
any other. It is not easy or easily finished work. Since most of it 
unavoidably occurs in the Goliath-like shadow of U.S. cultural domi- 
nance, cultural criticism in this country generally tends not to be 
descriptive and positive, but prescriptive and negative. We look not at 
our cultural products individually to determine what they are, but in 
groups to determine what they are not. Or to prescribe what they 
should be. 

(It's been impossible for such rigorously objective and asocial 
theoretical practices as structuralism and semiotics to take hold in a 
cultural context as feverishly subjective and uncertain as this one. For 
such radical objectivism to stick, it requires the kind of complete and 
unassailable cultural assurance found in places such as France, Great 
Britain, and the United States — places where cultural identity is no 
longer an issue of either concern or consciousness.) 

I raise these points about alienation and the predominantly 
prescriptive nature of cultural criticism in Canada in order to intro- 
duce — in concentrated and miniature form — a mindset that prevails 
in virtually all corners of serious cultural activity across this vast and 
windy country. (By "serious" I don't mean grim or incomprehensible 
to all but postgrads, merely untainted by The Bottom Line.) lis .1 
mindset that has determined not only the motivation and the method- 
ology behind this article, but, with striking consistency, the form of the 
cultural products it examines. While I indulge the proud Canadian 
critical tradition of sniffing out what's certifiably Canadian about our 
contemporary independent filmmaking scene, many of Canada's 
independent filmmakers are themselves working through this same 
issue of cultural self-distinction. If there's any apparent and reason- 
able shared characteristic bindinu the otherwise diverse activities of 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



Canada's independent filmmakers — and one that doesn't sacrifice 
aesthetic diversity in the name of critical convenience — it's the deter- 
mination to isolate and identify cultural subjectivity. Moreover, like 
the great Canadian critical project, it's an exercise that's usually con- 
ducted in negative, what-we-are-not terms, although occasionally, 
though far less frequently, in prescriptive, what-we-ought-to-be terms. 

But, before I proceed with a discussion of the distinguishing formal 
and cultural properties of some recent independent Canadian features, 
perhaps a note of political clarification is necessary at this point. Lest 
this Canadian drive to determine cultural specificity smack of some 
kind of reductionist and reactionary cultural nationalism, I should 
point out that it's a necessary fact of cultural existence in a context as 
culturally-imperialized as English Canada. In Canada's case, it's not a 
matter of marking off one's own forms of cultural expression in order 
to rank them against others or to use culture as a vehicle for jingoistic 
isolationism, but a matter of protecting indigenous culture itself. 
Given both the pervasiveness and popularity of U.S. culture in Cana- 
da, to not deal in questions of self-identity and independence is to 
condone and surrender to a particularly effective form of alien 
occupation. (As a character laments in Wim Wenders' Kings of the 
Road, "The Yanks have even colonized our subconscious.") Insisting 
upon your own identity and expression, in this context, is more than 
just a necessary condition of cultural independence; it's a downright 
healthy sign of subversive life. And a way to fight the alienation. 

Historically, it must be noted, this drive to self-distinction in 
Canadian culture has not been rendered in the familiar mythical, go- 
for-it terms of puny weaklings kicking the sands of self-assertion into 
the mug of the mighty oppressor. For the most part, the Canadian 
state of smothered self-identity has been negatively expressed — more 
as a debilitating lack, that is, than a unifying condition. The single 
most distinctive element of most forms of Canadian culture, particu- 
larly fiction and film, grows out of this absence of identity in an ab- 
stract but concretely negative way: a sense of alienation. 

Throughout Canada's otherwise checkered and distinctly 
noncontinuous film history (which is another epic account of cultural 
alienation in itself), Canadian filmmakers, in both independent and 
commercial sectors, have hurled themselves headlong into the chilly 
murk of psycho-social alienation. Notably, most of the films consider- 
ed seminal in English Canadian film history have been studies of 
people unable to connect and incapable of control. Don Owen's 



Nobody Waved Goodbye, made in 1964 at the National Film Board, 
tells the story of a selfish and idealistic teenager whose flight from 
home, school, and responsibility leads to eventual rejection by just 
about everyone, including the superhumanly patient and understand- 
ing girlfriend he's made pregnant. Goiri Down the Road, made in 
1970 by Don Shebib, and considered the ec/zf-English Canadian movie 
of the period, is basically an account of insurmountable circumstances 
crushing the misbegotten ideals of two itinerant Maritimers seeking 
the good life in the Emerald City of Toronto. Since these rubes can't 
read the writing on the Great Wall of Canadian social inequity (could 
be they can't read at all), they too are banished to the Phantom Zone 
of Canadian Alienation, with nothing but each other and warm 
Molson Export to relieve the boredom. Even David Cronenberg, un- 
doubtedly English Canada's most preeminently exportable auteur, is 
essentially a chronicler of chronic cerebral detachment, usually of the 
most literal sort imaginable. In the ickily graphic, sci-fi horror realm 
of Cronenberg (Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly, etc.), the condition of 
Canadian alienation reaches its most profound and essential 
expression: mind tends to lose its connection to body, consciousness 
withdraws from sensory stimulation. Not surprisingly, Cronenberg's 
films most often deal with forms of mental control — perhaps the ulti- 
mate expression of an alienated, as well as colonized, sensibility. 

There are few avenues in the ghetto of chronic disaffection that 
aren't abrupt cul-de-sacs. (Not surprisingly, past cinematic glory days 
in Canada faded abruptly — a fact which is equally attributable to gov- 
ernment indifference and the unremittingly fatalistic nature of the 
movies themselves — which never spoke to regular, movie-going Cana- 
dians nearly as effectively as American Graffiti or Jaws.) What's most 
remarkable about much recent contemporary English Canadian 
independent filmmaking is not merely how consistent it is in its 
exploration of states of fractured selfhood, but the new life it's discov- 
ered in such bleakly familiar landscapes. As a persistent theme in 
many recent Canadian independent movies, alienation may still be a 
stifling social, sexual, and psychological condition, but it's become 
terrific source of creative juice. 

In their own way, despite often radically different formal, narrative, 
and conceptual strategies, films such as Bachar Chbib's Memoirs 
(1984) and Evixion (1986), Atom Egoyan's Next of Kin (1984) and 
Family Viewing (1987), Dimitrios Estdelacropolis' Mother's Meat and 
Freud's Flesh (1984), Patricia Gruben's Low Visibility (1984), Michael 




Brenda Roberts 
and Penelope 
Stella in Low Visibility, 
Patricia Gruben's 
story of 
psychological 
disorder. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 




The narcotized 
view of the world 
from Peter Mettler's 
Scissere. 



Jones' The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood, Leon Marr's Dancing in 
the Dark (1986), Peter Mettler's Scissere (1982), John Paizs' Crime 
Wave (1985), Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing 
(1987),** to mention a significant few, concern themselves not only 
with the separation of individual from collective consciousness, but 
with active strategies for replugging the disaffected into some sense of 
social, political, and sexual purpose. In cases where society itself is held 
responsible for the alienation of its constituents, as in Family Viewing, 
Memoirs, and Low Visibility, the need for alternative social systems is 
unequivocally stressed — which constitutes a demonstration of progres- 
sive social radicalism in feature films that's about as characteristically 
Canadian as the cactus or the koala bear. 

What has facilitated this shift from the debilitating to the 
progressive (or at least critical) expression of Canadian cultural 
alienation is probably worth a turgid tome or two, but I'd like to ven- 
ture a suggestion: television. Television, that is, in concert with 
contemporary film and media theory. Made by a generation of mostly 
young, mostly university-educated filmmakers, the list of Canadian 
independents cited above reflects a body of work produced by and 
conscious of the culturally homogenizing effects of mass electronic 
media. But in Canada, it should be noted, it's not merely the death of 
print culture or a desensitivity to violence that's at the root of TV 
evil. In Canada the box has proved the most sublimely successful medi- 
um for cultural colonization. Television delivers the messages of the 
United States in the most painless, accessible, and attractive way possi- 
ble, and for 30 years, Canadian airwaves have been dominated by U.S. 
programming — both as exported, via cable, over the border and as a 
significant percentage of programming on Canadian stations. 

For many in the contemporary generation of independent Canadian 
filmmakers discussed here, most of whom are between 25 and 35 years 
old, this process of living room cultural occupation has been a fact of 
life. Their films reflect not only this intensive, lifelong exposure to the 
products of U.S. popular culture, but, perhaps due to the ascendancy of 
semiotics, psychoanalysis, and feminism in film and media studies over 



** This auterial list, incidently, lends the alienation thesis yet another level. 
As you may have noticed by the decidedly non-WASP monikers, the English 
Canadian independent feature scene is populated by a significant proportion of 
first- and second-generation non-Anglo-Saxons. Frequently, and centrally in 
the films of Atom Egoyan, alienation is defined by a sense of intergeneralional 
pan-cultural limbo. Displaced from both history and geography, this could be 
Canada's most fruitfully rootless generation of filmmakers yet. 



the past decade (when this bunch would've been hitting the books), 
they demonstrate a critical awareness of how this exposure to the cul- 
tural products of alien culture must necessarily lead to the chronic 
alienation from their own cultural context. In other words, what this 
generation has achieved, and what simultaneously binds them to, and 
distinguishes them from, their predecessors, is a level of active 
autocriticism of their inherited condition of cultural disaffection. 
Theirs is not a cinema of cloudy resignation, of goin' down roads with 
nobody waving goodbye. The alienation that is the defining character- 
istic of the Canadian cultural mindset still prevails in their work, but 
with a profoundly significant difference: it is now a subject instead of 
a condition. 

Significantly if not surprisingly, a number of recent Canadian 
independents deal explicitly (as did Cronenberg's Videodrome) with 
the connection between television, imperialism, and cultural schizo- 
phrenia. In both Atom Egoyan's made-in-Toronto features. Next of 
Kin and Family Viewing, the narrative is kicked into place by the 
protagonist's exposure to a video image: in the first case, a tape at a 
family counselling clinic that introduces the disaffected WASP hero 
to the troubled Armenian family that he will subsequently try to 
adopt; in the second, half-erased video images of an idyllic and forgot- 
ten childhood that the protagonist's father has been covering over 
with pornographic home movies — images that eventually incite the 
hero, Van, to embark on a full scale anti-patriarchal domestic 
insurrection. In each case, narrative development is virtually hinged 
upon the intervention of television technology — but in an uncommon- 
ly anti-alarmist way. In the positive causal link they make between 
media exposure and social activism (TV prods these people out of 
stupefaction), Egoyan's films couldn't be more out-of-step with prevail- 
ing poSt-McLuhan media doomspeak. Within the deep blue death of 
the tube, Egoyan's characters find reason to live. 

The actions of Steven Penny, the sublimely blitzed-out hero of John 
Paizs' made-in-Winnipeg Crime Wave, may not be the result of TV- 
induced epiphany, but they are no less the result of idiot box overindul- 
gence. Nor indeed is the film itself: Paizs (who's made several shorts) 
specializes in the deconstructive collage of elements drawn from the 
pool of collective pop experience. His first feature, the story of a 
chronically-blocked writer of "color crime movies" who lives above a 
suburban garage with his Underwood and his movie-stuffed fantasies, 
might best be described as sitcom-noir. or maybe Tex Avery splatter. 
The film is a deliriously deadpan depiction of a world totalis infused 
by the flotsam of electronic-age U.S. culture. But the eerie comic 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 




Julia Gilmore and 
Philip Baylaucq in 
Memoirs, Bachar 
Chbib's Canadian 
comedy that turns 
cultural disaffection 
into satire. 



effect of the film isn't explained by the simple camp appeal of ampli- 
fied junk-culture conventions; dramatic content is significantly less 
exaggerated in Paizs' films than their hyperkinetic form. Rather it 
resides in the juxtaposition of the most outrageously ill-matched 
archetypes and conventions. In Crime Wave's most sublimely surreal 
sequence, all Steven's characters, including the insurance-selling 
newlywed psychos, simultaneously come alive to party and brawl in 
their helpless creator's low-rent loft. 

Unlike Family Viewing, which posits the distinction of consciousness 
from media as a hopeful condition of social activism, Crime Wave's 
brilliance lies in its suggestion of the complete, sponge-like integration 
of media with consciousness. Just as Crime Wave's characters are com- 
prehensible only as clusters of familiar pop conventions, the film itself 
is meaningless as anything other than a vehicle for the conventions it 
plunders, scrambles, and regurgitates. The level of post-electronic age 
detachment from self and culture it represents becomes total: there's 
no escaping infiltration by electronic media because it is a process that 
eventually precludes the possibility of conceiving of alternatives alto- 
gether, gradually quelling even the desire for alternatives. Unlike so 
many other disaffected protagonists of Canadian movies, Steven is 
comparatively happy. Benumbed perhaps, but quite content, thanks 
very much. 

As played by writer-director-actor Paizs, Steven can be variously 
interpreted as naive, stupid, oblivious, shy — even retarded. Whatever 
you call him, he's archetypically Canadian: on the outside of events, 
more acted upon than active, stupefied by the paradoxical desire to be 
something he isn't — a successful writer of Hollywood color crime 
movies. This image of the protagonist as an embodiment of ineffec- 
tuality is a staple element of many Canadian movies, the cinema of 
losers, and the obvious expression of an alienated cultural condition. 
But what filmmakers like Paizs — and Montreal's Bachar Chbib, 
whose Memoirs is a similarly wry comic romp through a postmodern 
wasteland — have done is place this potentially crushing sensibility in a 
stridently anti-realist and satirical context. Their heroes' ineffectu- 
ally is comic and self-critical, rather than tragic and self-pitying. 

In many contemporary Canadian independent films, the debilitating 
detachment suffered by characters is taken a logical step further and 
treated as a legitimate psychological disorder, subjected to or requiring 
professional rehabilitative care. Such diverse films such as Patricia 
Gruben's Low Visibility, Leon Marr's Dancing in the Dark, and Peter 
Mettler's Scissere deal explicitly with people undergoing treatment for 



psychological disorders that are manifested by the subjects' feeling of 
profound disconnectedness. Other films take pains to establish their 
protagonists' eligibility for professional psychological counselling. The 
title character of Michael Jones' The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood — 
a wildly absurd, Pythonesque first-person account of the short (and 
possibly delusional) reign of the first leader of the "Peoples' Republic 
of Newfoundland" — is a paranoid, sexually-repressed minor bureau- 
crat prone to slipping in and out of hallucinatory fever dreams. The 
story of the tragically obedient housewife of Dancing in the Dark, who 
responds to the news of her husband's extra-marital antics by dispas- 
sionately puncturing him several times with a butcher knife, is 
interspersed with several sequences depicting her interrogation by a 
faceless male psychiatrist. In both the domestic and the hospital 
sequences, Marr emphasizes, through visual inserts and voiceover 
narration, the woman's feelings of chronic separation from her 
surroundings and past actions. Here, in other words, the culturally- 
determined sense of Canadian detachment has crossed over into an 
act of cool, psychotic aggression. 

Bruno Scissere, whose narcotic-addled senses function as the screen 
through which the world is experienced in Mettler's Scissere, might be 
the heroine of Leon Marr's. film after several years of doctors, drugs, 
and padded walls. Upon his release from a heroin addiction rehabil- 
itation center, the mentally hollowed Scissere imagines himself 
"inside" the sensibilities of four random passers-by spotted in a subway 
station. Essentially a feature-length exercise in the cinematic render- 
ing of fractured self-identity, Scissere is not only an exhaustingly 
inventive formal exercise, but yet another example of the Canadian 
obsession with terminal alienation finding an altogether new and 
revitalized form of expression in an independent production. 

Low Visibility, made by Vancouver filmmaker Patricia Gruben, is a 
kind of Canadian Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, as well as a fascinating 
variation on the clinical study offered by Dancing in the Dark. After 
he is found wandering alone on a mountain highway muttering 
profanities, a man known only as Mr. Bones is taken to a hospital 
where a team of doctors try to restore him to a state of socially accept- 
able "normalcy." Unable or unwilling to play along and often 
diabolically aware of precisely what'll piss the shrinks off, Mr. Bones 
maneuvers his willful withdrawal from the world of language and 
social interaction into a profoundly effective, and completely silent, 
campaign of subversion. His increasingly calculated attempts to thwart 
the agents of social stability can't be interpreted as anything but a 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



deliberate effort at undermining the behavioral foundations of 
"rational" society itself. Like Egoyan, Gruben finds in the conditioned 
Canadian state of cultural detachment the possibility for new forms of 
effective social resistance: a quiet revolution. 

If there's a single independent Canadian film that synthesizes these 
positivisitic and critical elements of the contemporary expression of 
Canadian cultural detachment, it's the first feature by Toronto's 
Patricia Rozema, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. The first-person 
experiences of a homely day-dreamy "person Friday" named Polly, 
Rozema's film sign-posts its contemporary Canadianess at the outset 
with a video shot of Polly directly addressing the camera. Like the 
characters in Memoirs and Crime Wave, Polly is clearly enamored of 
and intimidated by displays of cool cultural assurance. Taking a secre- 
tarial job in a trendy Toronto gallery, Polly quickly falls platonically, 
or so she claims, for its elegant French curator, a woman who 
represents everything Polly isn't and isn't likely to become. Like the 
protagonists of The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood and Scissere, Polly 
is prone to narrative-rupturing flights of fantasy. Like Jones' and 
Mettler's films, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, as the title should 
imply, is another account of Canadian alienation as a form of 
madness. As structured by Polly's voiceovers and fantasies, the film 
slips fluidly and constantly between "objective" narrative events and 
Polly's subjective interpretation of them, until at the end such distinc- 
tions are rendered meaningless. And what's rendered them meaning- 
less is what weds Rozema's Polly with Gruben's Mr. Bones: the 
assertion of subjective experience as a legitimate, even subversive, 
form of expression in itself. At film's end Polly hasn't been made to 
relinquish her fantasy world in the name of enforced collective 
normality. Rozema's beautiful, brilliant final shot advocates the 



opposite. Polly draws the "normal" world into her subjective day- 
dreamy mindscape. Call it the triumph of alienation. 

As long as the United States remains where and what it is, Canada's 
national state of alienation isn't likely to go away. And, while a 
surprising number of independent feature filmmakers have rendered 
this inherited state of chronic detachment in critical, comic, and 
occasionally even radical terms, the instances of autocritical aware- 
ness of our state are increasingly obvious in other, more mainstream 
examples of Canadian pop culture. What do The Decline of the 
American Empire and The Fly share if not a common determination 
to illustrate the ineluctable process of sexual alienation in the 
aftermath of the so-called sexual revolution? What else but media- 
determined alienation can be cited to explain the consistent Canadian 
alacrity in such stridently self-conscious cultural forms as media satire 
(SCTV, prominent contributions to Saturday Night Live) and the 
internationally celebrated experimental films of Bruce Elder, David 
Rimmer, Michael Snow, and Joyce Wieland? In their chronicling of 
the Canadian condition, what distinguishes the efforts of the contem- 
porary generation is an apparent desire to work through it: to isolate 
and name it and hold it up for critical scrutiny. 

In this effort, one can't help but see the seeds of a struggle towards a 
new cultural condition or mindset for Canada. But, with characteristic 
Canadian defeatism, I wonder what might be missed should this strug- 
gle eventually succeed. "Alienation" may be debilitating, restrictive, 
and negative— but, heck, it's all ours. 

Geoff Pevere is a freelance film critic and a programmer for the 
Toronto Festival of Festivals. 

©Geoff Pevere 1987 




A scene from 
Demetrios 
Estdelacropoliss 
Mother's Meat 
& Freud's Flesh. 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



THE OTHER A M ERICAS 

POPULAR VIDEO AND FILM IN LATIN AMERICA 




In Blanca Azucena 
(White Lily), villagers 
in southern Chile 
being trained as 
popular educators 
use videotape to 
evaluate their work. 



All photos courtesy Karen 
Ranucci 



Jane Creighton 



I caught Oliver Stone's Salvador on Cinemax the other night and was 
reminded, among other things, as to just how often the reading of 
Latin American experience here has to slog its way through the trou- 
bled characterizations of self and other alive in the minds of many 
North Americans — of whatever political stripe. Stone's leading men 
traverse a dark night of the soul in El Salvador, using the political 
circumstances of that country to determine just who they are and who 
they are not. However favorable or controversial the film's political 
take on El Salvador might be to the viewer, the film remains in its 
essence a feverish meditation on the state of mind among some North 
American white males — presumably a marketable way to introduce 
the consequences of U.S. interventions in the third world to the public 
at large. A pragmatic approach to U.S. media politics might suggest 
that those of us interested in justice in Central and Latin America 
should be pleased at Hollywoodish renderings of situations south of the 
Rio Grande that cast any favorable light on combatants swathed in 
the U.S. government's red paintbrush. The other hand suggests that 
such renderings are a surreal usage of complex, succinct political real- 
ities — like the circumstances of the rape and murder of four U.S. 
churchwomen in El Salvador or Charles Horman's demise as por- 
trayed in Missing — to heighten the horrors experienced by U.S. 
expatriates. The assumption is that we won't understand it or be 
interested unless it happens to our anti-heroes. 

Various individuals and distribution groups have ignored that 
assumption in favor of a lively engagement with cross-cultural ex- 
change of film and video productions, among them. El Salvador 



Media Project, Icarus Films, Cinema Guild, and X-Change TV. The 
appearance of the eight-hour video program Democracy in Commu- 
nication: Popular Video and Film in Latin America marks a further 
effort to broaden the representation of Latin America to North 
American audiences. There is obvious value to us in the fact that this 
exhibition consists largely of the work of a wide variety of indepen- 
dent Latin American producers representing their own countries to 
themselves. Videomaker Karen Ranucci compiled over 30 tapes from 
nine different countries during a year spent working as a freelance 
videographer-journalist in Latin America. The result is an absorbing 
mixed bag of fiction, documentary, and music video and film that 
parlays obvious overall value into diverse detail. There's something 
here for everybody, whether you are concerned with the state of war 
in El Salvador or the state of experimental filmmaking in Mexico. Or 
the state's sense of humor in Nicaragua. 

Ranucci unearthed these works in roughly two-week stints spent 
tracking down any producers she could find in each country. In strictly 
academic terms, this suggests that a thorough country-by-country 
representation of popular video and film is not this exhibition's strong 
point. Since the majority of the tapes have been edited by Ranucci for 
easier North American distribution (this might account for plot confu- 
sion in several), we are not seeing much of this work as it emerged 
fully conceived from the hands of its producers. 

Democracy in Communication is governed instead by a concern for 
expanding alternative channels of communications distribution in the 
United States. The exhibit remains flexible to whatever venues might 
show it, be that full or partial viewings at festivals, universities, 
galleries, libraries, solidarity groups, public access television, or even, 
in one instance, such institutions as Bell Laboratories. As such, the 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



tapes provide a broad exploratory look into the arena of Latin Amer- 
ican productions, in the interests of creating avenues and demand for 
a great deal more. 

The project of attaining democracy in communication is not as 
simple as fighting for equal time in the U.S. for Latin American 
producers. For the most part, these programs are selected from efforts 
within each country to create alternative media space. That means 
one thing in Nicaragua, where no independent video was produced 
before the overthrow of Somoza in 1979 and where media becomes 
very much a part of a state in the process of creating itself. It means 
quite another in El Salvador, where independent production exists 
entirely within the exigencies of low intensity conflict and guerrilla 
war. In Brazil and Mexico, both with huge television broadcast 
corporations heavily engaged in export, independent producers must 
contend in the margins of markets dominated by forces represented by 
a sales rep in the international marketing arm of Mexico's TV 
conglomerate Televisa, quoted in a recent Variety: "The public is tired 
of seeing stories about poor people leading miserable lives." 

There is not enough information, however, within the scope of the 
exhibition for the uninitiated viewer to draw a definitive picture of 
each country's television broadcast situation. The vitality of individual 
productions and the juxtaposition of those productions country by 
country instead introduces a range of issues alive in the minds of those 
Latin Americans not firmly situated inside the marketing profile. 
What is here? Small-format community video and organizing tapes 
from Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. Fiction and documentary film from 
Peru. Music video from Panama and Peru. Satirical newscasts from 
Brazil, the BBC picturing Chile, a fascinating video standoff between 
the government and the guerrillas in El Salvador, television game- 
shows in Nicaragua, and more.* 

A five-minute cross section of one afternoon of Mexican TV 
introduces both that country and the premise that U.S. values and 
multinational commerce dominate much of Latin TV. From Magnum 
PI to Superlook pantyhose to Mr. Clean to Lionel Richie singing "We 
made our choice" (of Pepsi) to scenes from ubiquitous Mexican 
telenovelas exhibiting the vaselined-teeth look of love, we deduce the 
premise, or the mountain, against which the entire rest of the exhibi- 
tion makes its assault. 

That's a reasonable enough entry and it reasonably disappears into 
tapes and films that make the world their business according to the 
interests of the communities and individuals from which they are 
created. My particular favorites from Mexico are Amas de Casa 
(Housewives) and Nuestro Tequio (Our Tequio) which were made, 
respectively, in an urban barrio and in a Zapotec community in the 
state of Oaxaca. Amas features housewives banding together in a 
union to fight an eviction notice by literally driving the server out into 
the street to the accompaniment of fireworks set off from the roofs by 
young boys. The tape was produced by women filmmakers as part of 
an organizing effort to help neighborhood women combat real evic- 
tions. This staged eviction suggests all the awkwardness and enthu- 
siasm of people making use of video to work out their battle plans. 

Nuestro Tequio was made by Zapotecas whose purpose is to 
document their own culture and institutions. The "tequio" is an all 
day community event where hundreds of people from all over the 
region gather to perform some community service, in this case 
restoring the roof of their city hall building. This plot is simple: the 
roof needs fixing, the roof gets fixed by hundreds of men marching 
tins of cement up stairs to the flourishing strains of what I only know 
how to describe as something like "oompah" music. It's a grand 10- 
minute representation of how the infrastructures of a community can 
be cared for by its inhabitants with their own money and their own 
time. It's of interest to note that the videomakers raise money for 
their productions by working as migrant farm laborers in the U.S. 

* The tapes from Bolivia and Uruguay remain unsubtitled at this date (mid- 
April) and are not under consideration here. 




Women of a Mexican barrio enact an eviction in Cine Mujer s Amas 
de Casa (Housewives). 



The explicit use of video for local organizing reappears in two tapes 
from Chile and Brazil. Blanca Azucena (White Lily) takes place in a 
village in southern Chile. It documents the process by which a group 
of 10 villagers become popular educators — teaching reading and crafts 
to local residents. The solid merits of this tape might be encapsulated 
in the manner in which all 10 educators squeeze onto and around a 
couch to watch themselves on TV while we watch them move through 
the various stages of shyness and delight that recognition of a job well 
done brings. Resistance to self-motivated community education is a 
matter of fact in Chile. By working out scenarios in video to deal with 
government and familial resistance, the educators create a model, as 
do the women in Amas, to apply to real life situations. Blanca 
Azucena goes a good bit further in documenting how the protagonists 
feel about their work. They watch themselves at work and see them- 
selves as others see them. Says one, "We all managed to show some- 
thing of ourselves. For me it was like seeing a poem." 

Beijo Ardente (Overdose) was made by an independent video 
collective in Brazil in support of a group of artists in the city of Porto 
Alegre attempting to create a cultural center by reconverting an old 
gas plant. The script goes for the jugular by representing politicians 
and industrialists in the body of a sleazy vampire with vague European 
origins who spends much of his time cowering in the bowels of the gas 
plant watching television while his skinhead assistant searches the 
environs for, of course, female food. The vampire's rocky demise has 
more to do with vampire folklore updated to local humor than it does 
with the triumph of artists over industrialists, which makes this tape 
both amusing and somewhat predictable. 

Brazil's other offerings include hilarious tapes of caricatured TV 
correspondent Ernesto Varela who takes his crew to watch the 
induction of a new director in the Xingu Indian National Park. Says 
Varela, "The Indians are very happy, dancing and singing. It's amaz- 
ing the number of journalists here tonight." thus initiating numerous 
visual and verbal jokes regarding TV journalism's Cliff Notes ap- 
proach to indigenous culture. Sound On/Vision On, a collage of 
predominantly Afro-Brazilian sounds and images, presents exactlj 
that at some length with only slight and unenlightening commentary 
on the danger economic development projects are posing to indi- 
genous culture. The opposition of the two styles, one cannilv dismem- 
bering rote journalism and the other giving itself over to the visual 
and audio richness of its subjects, represents what is both provoking 
and rewarding about the exhibition in general. The geographical, poli- 
tical, and aesthetic territories covered are vast. Any one o\' these tapes 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 




The Panamanian music video Algo de Ti (Something of You), by 
Luis Franco and Sergio Cambefort, combines the lyrics of a love 
song with scenes of political violence. 

suggests many more questions than can or will be answered neatly 
within the exhibition and its accompanying brochure. 

In this light, a program like Chile's Forbidden Dream, a 
coproduction of the BBC and the Chilean theater company ICTUS, 
satisfies the itch for overview while diminishing the spontaneity 
apparent in the variegated Brazilian tapes, or even in the above- 
mentioned Chilean Blanca Azucena. A thorough recognition of the 
ravages wrought by the Pinochet government is laid out by an English 
narrator. This provides the context for excerpts of the ICTUS group's 
performances and tapes, many of which echo the theme that years of 
dictatorship have shrouded the imaginations of Chileans who have 
lost the ability to dream of, and therefore secure, a just society. That's 
a conceivable idea, complete unto itself. And particularly so for inter- 
national audiences who might crave a metaphor they can lay their 
hands on. But the tape's focus on ICTUS as an artists' group repre- 
senting the moral and political dilemmas of all of Chile leans to the 
precious. There are revealing moments toward the end of the tape 
when ICTUS directors muse over the fact that military censors still 
allow them to operate. "We are not significant," says one, and though 
this talented group's efforts to prove that art can conquer fear in 
Chile are spirited and relentless, the dominant metaphor of the forbid- 
den dream framed in BBC style lends the tape a reductive quality. 

By contrast, and in very different political circumstances, the tapes 
from El Salvador introduce in steely tones the dynamic propaganda 
war being waged between the military and the guerrillas. Atlactl is a 
short publicity tape made by the military and broadcast over state- 
controlled television. Atlacatl is both a legendary warrior Indian and 
the name of a special forces battalion trained by the United States as 
part of an intensified effort to shape up what in the early eighties was 
a slipshod fighting force. The opening shot backs away from an 
oversized statue of Atlactl, "the pride of our race that has never been 
defeated," to reveal the battalion standing in the dark drinking in the 
words of Colonel Domingo Monterrosa, who delivers his benediction 
swathed in the imposing shadow of the statue directly behind him. 
Monterrosa' s face is broadly lit against the surrounding darkness in an 
apparent effort to further the demigod status of this man and his 
charges. The tape consists mostly of his speech and a pan on the faces 
of the intent, raring-to-go soldiery. 

The reliance on a legendary figure pulled from a long-decimated 
indigenous population to promote the idea of single-minded, patriotic, 
deadly force plays off interestingly against the excerpt from Tiempo 
de Audacia (Time of Daring), a video and film production from the 



Chile's Forbidden Dream, a critique of the Pinochet regime, was 
coproduced by the British Broadcasting Corporation and ICTUS, a 
Santiago-based theater company. 

guerrilla communications system. This is something like pitting John 
Waynese against how people really talk. The clip opens on army 
soldiers jogging down a city street chanting, "If I catch you/I will kill 
you/Your blood I will drink/Your flesh I will eat." The excerpt goes on 
to detail in haunting visuals and edits the extensive domination of 
military training by the U.S. It opposes that to images of popular 
support for the FMLN shot in villages where the guerrillas have estab- 
lished themselves. I have discussed this work in some detail elsewhere 
in these pages ["Freedom of Information Acts: Radio Venceremos 
Film Collective," April 1985]. Suffice it to say that the clearly parti- 
san approach by both sides allows us to glimpse the war in El Salvador 
squarely inside the arguments of those fighting it. 

The third tape in this section, Los Refugiados (The Refugees), was 
made by North Americans and is a pragmatic exception to the rule of 
Latin American producers in this exhibition. It is based on extensive 
interviews with Salvadoran refugees and North American religious 
and legal workers in Long Island and works well within the tradition 
of talking heads-style documentary. In the context of Atlacatl and 
Tiempo de Audacia, it provides compelling and politically astute testi- 
mony from Salvadorans whose uncertain status as refugees in the U.S. 
fleshes out the nature of the war in a way that, say, Oliver Stone's 
there 's-bad-guys-on-both-sides thesis in Salvador fails to do. 

Propaganda is of course one of those dragons whose fire no objective 
North American observer wants to be caught breathing. But propa- 
ganda comes in all styles, from all countries, and it promotes both the 
best and the worst of causes depending on where the viewer makes a 
stand. A fundamental premise that should not be missed in this 
exhibition, and in subsequent efforts to distribute Latin American 
tapes, is that the nature of particular struggles can be understood and 
judged through the efforts of interested parties. For instance, we under- 
stand something about the nature of U.S. involvement in Central 
America by hearing Reagan's early characterization of Oliver North 
as a hero. 

We understand something about the differing political climate 
within Central America by going from El Salvador to Nicaragua. 
Nicaraguan television is produced under a variety of auspices, from 
state television to independent workshops. The best selections show a 
rambunctious, if less technically fine, approach to shortages and 
political aggression from the north. One of these, iQue Pasa con el 
Papel Higenico? (What Happened to the Toilet Paper?), was produced 
by the agrarian reform ministry and details highly uninhibited public 
criticism of the government's approach to this particularly affecting 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 




The guerilla communications system of El Salvador responds to the 
bias in government-controlled media reporting by making their 
own media, as with Time of Daring, a partisan look at the war. 

shortage. Another, La Virgen Que Suda (The Sweating Virgin), was 
produced by the government television system, Sandinista TV. It is 
based on an incident much trumpeted by the now closed U.S. -backed 
newspaper La Prensa in which a statue of the Virgin Mary was frozen 
in a bath in order that she might later appear to be sweating her 
displeasure at the Sandinistas. It features a rubber-masked Uncle Sam 
riding his horse south of the border to the strains of "The Good, the 
Bad, and the Ugly." Sam speaks a hilarious Yankee Spanish ("^.Que 
pasa in Nick-er-ah-gwa?") and exhorts the sultry Ms. La Prensa to do 
something to ruffle the Sandinistas' relationship with the church. 
Everybody hams it up in a drama that shows some local people suc- 
cumbing to greed and deceit while others, in the true spirit of the 
revolution, uncover the plot and turn them in. The mix of ribald hilar- 
ity with state righteousness won't do much to clarify limping debates 
here about government censorship in Nicaragua. What will clarify 
that debate is implicit in the tape — the cessation of U.S. military 
intervention in Nicaragua. 

The ravages of the contra war are made explicit in an independent 
workshop production of stand-up testimonies by people directly affect- 
ed. Such testimony is essential to any representation of Nicaragua, but 
this tape suffers in translation from an excess of rhetoric about the 
need to consolidate the revolution. An entirely different approach to 
war and oppression comes in the form of a music video from Peru 
about the disappearances of Indian peasants in the state of Ayacucho. 
The song is Ruben Blades' "Desaparecidos," an extraordinary lyrical 
rendering of verses about persons in search of their loved ones. The 
tape literally applies the lyrics to testimonies given by Indians whose 
family members have disappeared under violent circumstances. The 
combination of art and document is seamless. Not so for the producer, 
who after the appearance of this tape lost his job with Peruvian TV 
for unauthorized use of file tapes. 

According to the exhibition notes, independent video production in 
Peru barely exists. The two 16mm films included present a more 
studied approach to Peruvian concerns than much of the video. Both 
are produced under the auspices of Grupo Chaski, a collective of over 
35 filmmakers. Gregorio is a feature length fiction about a young 
Indian boy whose family must migrate to Lima in search of work. The 
accompanying tragedy of the father's death and Gregorio's gradual 
evolution into one of a throng of Lima's street kids rings a familiar 
bell regarding what urban migration does to disenfranchised tradi- 
tional culture. The strength of this film lies in the determined atten- 



Caricature-correspondent Ernesto Varela satirizes television news 
reporting in his "coverage" of the inauguration of a tribal chief in 
Varela in Xingu. 

tion it pays to the look and feel of transience as experienced by the 
main character. 

Miss Universe in Peru plays off the simultaneous occurrence of the 
Miss Universe Contest and a National Conference of Peasant Women 
in Lima. A number of themes throughout the exhibition surface in 
this film, which variously interviews peasant women and contestants 
and plays those interviews against official television statements 
trumpeting the benefits the contest portends for Peruvian tourism. "It 
is evidently a commercial enterprise," says the contestant from Chile. 
"We are here in a congress and want to move forward. Maybe we 
aren't beautiful, but these women exhibit themselves like animals," 
says a peasant woman from the conference. "They carry the message 
of peace," says a representative of the contest, after she has just finish- 
ed telling a story about Miss Argentina teaching Spanish to Miss 
Great Britain. All this is interspersed with television spots promoting 
the good life for blonde women, exploiting Incan heritage as a tourist 
commodity, and showing contestants rehearsing their routines (among 
them a Miss Transkei) preparatory to an event that will be attended 
by all the bigwigs in Lima, including the U.S. ambassador. The careful 
orchestration between an international television presence, the mar- 
keting of women, and the defiance exhibited by indigenous women of 
Peru deconstructs the meaning of Miss Universe in a way not unlike 
the full effects of this exhibition. 

Democracy in Communication opens doors into the diversity of 
Latin American productions made in the early 1980s. Its limits as an 
anthology lie to some extent in the scarcity of accompanying informa- 
tion, concerning both country-by-country political circumstances and 
the complicated world of communications in North/South relations. 
The collection's great merits reside in the pioneering effort to create 
the groundwork for a richly detailed map of popular video and film in 
Latin America that contributes to a world viewed through the dy- 
namic particulars of the people who inhabit it. In doing so. it rightly 
presumes upon the intelligence of North American audiences to take 
note of what they see. 



Jane Creighton is a writer living in San Francisco, who is coordinating 
a series of readings for the "War and Memory Project" of the 
Washington Project for the Arts. 

■ Jane Creighton 1987 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 21 



FESTIVALS 

THE PICK OF THE CROP: 
TORONTO'S FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS 




Robert Aaronson 



The following interview with Kay Armatage 
took place during the Toronto Festival of Festi- 
vals in September 1986. Armatage is one of the 
festival's main programmers, along with Piers 
Handling (special sections and, in 1987, director 
of programming), David Overby, and Helga Ste- 
phenson, who was promoted to festival director 
in 1987. Stephenson replaces Leonard Schein, 
who held the position for one year after the de- 
parture of S. Wayne Clarkson. 

The Festival of Festival's program consists of 
Gala presentations of new Canadian and foreign 
films, which then open at Toronto theaters, the 
large "Perspective Canada" section, special sec- 
tions such as last year's successful Latin Ameri- 
can film retrospective, and, at the heart of the 
event, the Contemporary World Cinema (CWC) 
program, where approximately 100 new interna- 
tional features and independent films are screen- 
ed. At CWC, Toronto audiences have an oppor- 



tunity to see many films that may otherwise be 
unavailable; distributors also come to the festi- 
val to scout these films. An important adjunct to 
the Festival of Festivals is the Trade Forum, a 
three-day business meeting of representatives 
from the film and television industries, each 
year based on a different theme. 

In 1986 Schein initiated a program called 
"20/20," a series of dramatic, internationally- 
produced art films made for popular audiences, 
which will not be repeated this year. Instead the 
festival plans include a "Southeast Asian Panora- 
ma" of about 40 films. 

Robert Aaronson: When do you begin look- 
ing for films? In Berlin? 

Kay Armatage: Yes. 

RA: Do all the programmers see all the films? 

KA: We see more than we claim. I saw quite a 
few of David's films from Berlin, but a lot of 



Armin Mueller-Stahl in a scene from The Blind 
Director, Alexander Kluge's recent feature 
that screened at the Toronto Festival of 
Festivals. 

Courtesy Film Society of Lincoln Center 



the films we just don't get a chance to see. I 
don't get to Cannes, for instance, so there are 
hundreds of films that I miss there. 

RA: Do you try to fill a certain number of 
hours? How do you determine when to stop 
looking? 

KA: I suppose we always start the year saying 
we're going to have no more than 50 films in 
the Contemporary World Cinema section. And 
then it ends up — this year, including "20/20" 
— it's 80 films. We have a certain level that we 
aim for, but if we've filled up that number and 
another film comes along and we say, "We've 
got to show this," then we do. 

RA: Do you have a country-by-country quota 
or goal? 

KA: No. Particularly for CWC, we have per- 
sonal discretion. In Berlin, for instance, David 
and I see many of the same films. Some films 
we'll both like, and we trade: who's going to 
invite this one? We bargain, negotiate numbers 
and guests and that kind of thing. 

RA: What happens, then, if a filmmaker sends a 
preview tape to David or Leonard? 

KA: If he likes it, it will be shown. No individ- 
ual is the voice of the festival. 

RA: On the other hand, a rejection by one pro- 
grammer is not necessarily the end of the pro- 
cess for a filmmaker? 

KA: That's right. In the case of A Great Wall, I 
saw it last year and had extreme reservations 
about it. Leonard saw it this year and thought 
we should have it. 

RA: Can you tell me your criteria for selecting a 
film? 

KA: I really go out of my way to find films by 
women. And a third of my choices are films 
made by women. After that. I look for films that 
take more formal risks or break more conven- 
tions than in well-made conventional drama. So 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



I look for avant-garde films and unconventional 
films. 

RA: What festivals do you go to during the 
year? 

KA: I just go to Berlin and usually to Filmex. 
But there was no Filmex this year, so I was 
hampered in my selection a little. Then I come 
to New York for a week in early July and prob- 
ably another day or two later in July There I see 
a lot of U.S. independent work, plus films that 
come in after Cannes — Le Rayon Vert, for in- 
stance. 

RA: You're restricted to features of at least 60 
minutes for the U.S. selection, is that right? 

KA: When I first started five years ago, I was 
very keen to have short films. But it's as much 
work to clear customs for a 10-minute film as it 
is for a feature. Then there's all the prepara- 
tions, the revising, preparing for the screening, 
and so on. At a certain point we had to set a 
policy that we weren't going to have short 
films, except from Canada. But there are excep- 
tions, like a Chris Marker 10-minute short, I'll 
show no matter what. 

RA: What do you think your audience appre- 
ciates most, and do you select films thinking of 
the audience? 

KA: Sure, I pick certain films thinking of cer- 
tain audiences. For example, three years ago I 
knew that Sally Potter's The Gold Diggers was 
not going to please a general audience. Probably 
200 people in Toronto really want to see that 
film and will have no other opportunity, so I pro- 
grammed it whether or not it would sell out the 
Varsity 2. There are other films that I know 
many people will like, such as the Rohmer (Le 
Rayon Vert), which had just won the prize at 
Venice. Likewise, Doris Dome's Men... was an 
enormous crowd pleaser. 

I also showed some difficult films last year. I 
think Trinh Minh-ha's film (Naked Spaces - Liv- 
ing Is Round) is very difficult, and Yvonne 
Rainer's film (The Man Who Envied Women) is 
difficult as well. To some degree I have qualms 
about showing them. I feel that it's a super- 
market here — with huge crowds of people who 
read the program and pop into a film. If they 
don't like it within 10 minutes, they leave. And, 
sometimes, an avant-garde film is more difficult 
to get into in the first 10 minutes than most Hol- 
lywood films. I'm not quite sure whether this is 
the right context for those films. On the other 
hand, I think it's very important for the credibil- 
ity of the festival that those kinds of films be 
included — that it not be a mainstream festival. 

RA: Do you want distributors to come to the 
festival and look for films that are potentially 
commercial but don't have a distributor yet? 





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JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



KA: I don't think about that much. It's an inter- 
esting question, though, particularly in relation 
to Canadian films, and it's something we think 
of in terms of the international press, for exam- 
ple. But in the selection process, I think much 
more about the audiences than the industry. 

RA: Once the festival begins, how do you de- 
fine your role in promoting the films you've 
selected and in helping filmmakers contact 
people? 

KA: I work with the press office as much as I 
can. I'll sit down with the press officer and go 
through the entire list of films that I've selected 
and tell them the things that they can push — the 
kinds of special interest groups that they may 
want to contact and that sort of thing. Once the 
festival gets rolling, I drop into the press office, 
but either the press is interested in interviewing 
someone or not. There are a number of writers I 
know, and I make a point of introducing people 
to them. Most of the press contact here is either 
through press conferences or personal inter- 
views. The smaller independent films don't 
have press conferences unless they hold them 
themselves, which they are perfectly free to do. 

RA: This festival is enormous — almost 300 
films. Most of the press is concerned with the 
big commercial movies. How can a U.S. inde- 
pendent make an impact in Toronto? 

KA: It's tough. The filmmaker can do a great 
deal by being here and working the festival. Per- 
sonal contact really helps. Even if the film isn't 
big enough to warrant us using our last Air Can- 
ada pass to bring someone here, a hundred 
bucks can get them here from New York. Even- 
tually, although the daily press mainly covers 
the galas, there's an enormous amount of both 
local and international press here. The coverage 
that comes out after the festival can be very valu- 
able to filmmakers, because they have a chance 
to get their work analyzed and situated in a con- 
text that's a little bit more serious and pays a 
little bit more attention to the films. 

RA: Do you think it's worthwhile hiring a 
publicist? 

KA: Most filmmakers don't. They do their own 
publicity very well. Barbara Margolis, for exam- 
ple, got the press out, and all she did was stuff 
mailboxes and wrote little notes to people. She 
was around and talked to everybody and was 
pleasant, gracious, well-informed, articulate. 
And they came out for her film — plus distribu- 
tors, plus television people that she'd been able 
to contact here. That's possible for anybody to 
do. Also, critics love to make discoveries. The 
films that I think have the least chance of get- 
ting noticed are the small independent films 
with no one here to represent them. An exquis- 
ite film can get missed. 
There's more international press here than at 



any festival outside Cannes, say, and Berlin — in 
North America the most by far — 350 from the 
U.S. press alone. Plus all of the Canadian distrib- 
utors are here. For those who want to move into 
the Canadian market, they're just here waiting 
to snap up films. If they want to try to sell the 
film to Canadian television, they've just got to 
make appointments to see them at their offices. 
The Trade Forum is here, too, with all of the in- 
dustry people, where they can just buzz in and 
out at will and make contacts. 

RA: The one thing I've heard expressed as a 
problem here is that screenings overlap. You do 
screen many films more than once, but there's 
always another film during the second screening 
that's having its only showing. 

KA: We need more theaters and bigger theaters. 
Or else we need to show fewer films. Last year 
we showed about 325 films and were able to re- 
peat every film twice; some were shown three 
times. People with day passes could see every- 
thing; even the galas were repeated in the day- 
time. This year I think we're showing about 350 
films, but there are a substantial number that we 
can't repeat at all. Last year we had something 
like 225,000 or 230,000 single admissions, and 
this year it's already over 240,000, heading up 
to probably 250,000. And we've got eight thea- 
ters, but some of them, like the Cumberland 
Four, have only 185 seats — it's a joke. For Hour 
of the Star /by Brazilian director Suzana Amar- 
al], I'm sure they turned away twice the number 
that wanted to go in. 

RA: How do you hear about U.S. independent 
films? 

KA: Scouts. People like you. I have a good 
friend in L.A. who's very interested in documen- 
tary and music films, and every year I phone 
him up or I make a point of taking him out to 
dinner when I'm in L.A. And I also telephone 
all the filmmakers I know. When I go to a city 
like Berlin, L.A., or New York, if I'm not in a 
screening room I'm having lunch or dinner with 
somebody who's telling me what they've seen. 
And in those cases they're always people whose 
taste I trust. And I never select a film on their 
recommendations without seeing it, but I have 
then a sort of hit list of films that I'm out to see. 
This is particularly helpful to me because I 
don't go to Cannes. 

RA: Do the films have to be completed within a 
certain time period to qualify for CWC? 

KA: In the past we looked for films completed 
since the last festival, with some exceptions. 
Films from Indonesia won't get subtitled within 
the first six months of their completion, and 
sometimes it takes a year or two years for a film 
to get out to the rest of the world. But in the past 
our philosophy was that we either select a film 
made that year, or if we miss it, if we've made a 



huge error, that's too bad, like A Great Wall. We 
saw it last year; we turned it down last year. 
Normally we wouldn't show it a year later. But 
Leonard's philosophy this year was that he want- 
ed to show as many good films as possible. I 
think that's one of the reasons that the press, the 
industry, and distributors are interested in a festi- 
val. A disappointment for me this year was that 
Seven Women, Seven Sins wasn't ready for us. 
Next year will I turn down a film made by Chan- 
tal Akerman, Helke Sander, Ulrike Ottinger, 
Valie Export, Maxi Cohen, Laurence Gavron, 
Bette Gordon? No, I probably won't. 

RA: Do you plan to remain with the festival for 
the foreseeable future? 

KA: I love doing the festival. I love this 10 
days. It's such an contrast with my academic 
life — to get out my rhinestone earrings and to be 
in show business for a couple of months. But 
it's hard as well, because I work full-time from 
September to May and then start work on the 
festival the first of June. But, in the end, my 
heart's really in it. And, even though I've been 
doing it for five years and that may seem like a 
long time, it takes two or three years to establish 
the kinds of friendships and contacts and net- 
works. At this point I'm just getting good at it. 
Also, there are very few women festival pro- 
grammers around the world. I'm the only wom- 
an programming this festival, and it's a big fes- 
tival. 

Robert Aaronson is assistant director of the 
Artists Sponsorship Program at the New York 
Foundation for the Arts. 

□ 
Festival dates: Sept. 10-19, Canada. Over 200 films 
are screened over 9 days at this fest, which welcomes 
entries from the US, most of which are programmed in 
the Contemporary World Cinema section, a survey of 
current films from around the world, and in the Docu- 
mentary section. Executive director Helga Stephenson, 
program director Piers Handling & programmer Kay 
Armatage will be in NY from June 8-12 to prescreen 
US entries at the Nat'l Film Board of Canada, 1251 
Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10021; (212) 
586-5131. They will be looking for feature films & 
docs over one hour, in 35mm or 16mm. No shorts. 
Films must not have been shown commercially in Can- 
ada & should have been completed after Sept. '86. 
1/2" & 3/4" OK for preview. Extensive press coverage 
surrounds the fest, with major US papers & trade jour- 
nals represented & accredited journalists from 20 coun- 
tries. No entry fees; fest pays return shipping of films 
or cassettes sent for selection or exhibition. The fest 
may in some circumstances cover expenses for film- 
makers to attend. Last year's ind films included Jo- 
Anne Akalaitas' Dead End Kids; Barbara Margolis' 
Are We Winning. Mommy? America & the Cold War; 
Lizzie Borden's Working Girls; Sara Driver's Sleep- 
walk, Fielder Cook's Seize the Day, Spike Lee's She's 
Gotta Have It & Ross McElwee's Sherman's March. 
Deadline; July 1. Contact: Piers Handling, program 
director, Toronto Festival of Festivals, 69 Yorkville 
Ave., Suite 205, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5R 1B8. 
(416)967-7371. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been 
compiled by Kathryn Bowser. Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement & 

since some details change faster 
than we do, we recommend that 
you contact the festival for further 
information before sending prints or 
tapes. If your experience differs from 
our account, please let us know so 
we can improve our reliability. 



DOMESTIC 

Asbury Film Festival, Nov. 21-22, New York. 7 yr- 
old weekend showcase for new 16mm independent 
short films. Program is "geared toward the unknown 
or first-time producer whose work is not shown at the 
big festivals, on PBS or at museums" & films which 
"provide an accurate look into the world of indepen- 
dent filmmaking." Films should have been completed 
in the last 5 yrs. Last yr's program incl. Dan Reed's 
Tuscola Moon, Tom Flanagan's Altar Boy, Steven 
Marro's Boxman & Nate Hubbard's Tongue Twisters. 
Format: 16mm. Contact: Doug LeClaire, Asbury Film 
Festival, 15 Parkside Court, Brooklyn, NY 11226; 
(718) 941-6602. 

Dance on Camera Festival, Dec. 12-15, New York. 
Any aspect of the dance expressed on film or video is 
eligible for this competition, cosponsored by 31 yr-old 
Dance Films Assoc. & Donnell Media Center. Work 
must have been completed in the yr prior to fest & 
should also have a distrib. Last yr's top award winners 
were Ron Hansa's The Men Who Danced & Anthony 
Mayer's Kalakshetra. Other winning independent films 
incl. Joshua Blum's Black & White, Sandy Smolen's 
Daytime Moon, Joan Erskine's Dolphin Dances, Bar- 
bara Sykes-Dietz' Kalyian. Michelle Mahrer's Xidu & 
Bernar Herbert's Exhibition. A panel of dance critics, 
dance professionals, film distributors & producers 
judges all entries in cats incl. performance, dance 
company background & history, biography, technique, 
dance in education, experimental film/video techni- 
que, dance history & dance therapy. Entry fees: $15- 
35. Format: 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: July 1. Contact: 
Susan Braun, executive director. Dance Films Assoc, 
Rm 301, 241 E. 34th St., New York, NY 10016; (212) 
686-7019. 

Film Arts Festival: A Celebration of Bay Area 
Independent Film & Video. Nov. 6-8, San Francisco. 
W/ its high concentration of ind. film & video makers, 
the SF Bay Area provides a nurturing environment for 
films screened at this fest, now in its 3rd yr. Open to 
N. California film & videomakers & sponsored by 
Film Arts Foundation, the largest regional member- 
ship organization of ind. media artists in the country, 
the fest programs films thematically according to the 
submissions received. Last yr 62 works were screened 
in cats such as "Music Makers: Diverse Harmonies," 
"In the Neighborhood," "Liberation in the Americas," 
"Never Discuss Sex, Politics or Religion," "Gay 
Lives" & "Narrative Variations." Incl. in the program 
were Juliet Bashore's Kamikaze Hearts, Victor Frid- 
man's Argentina: The Broken Silence. Wynn Hausser's 
Sanctuary: A Question of Conscience, Tina DiFelician- 



tonio'sLiving with Aids, Chuck Hudina's Grease, Craig 
Baldwin's RocketKitKongoKit, Scott Guitteau's Moth- 
er of God, Ruby Yang's White Passage & Mikel Ander- 
son's Alone in the T-Shirt Zone. All genres & lengths 
welcomed. No entry fee. Filmmakers receive fee for 
screenings. Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". 
Contact: Robert Hawk, festival director, Film Arts 
Festival, 346 9th Street, 2nd fl., San Francisco, CA 
94130; (415) 552-8760. 

International Festivalof Progressive Film & Video. 
October, San Francisco. This fest will debut this fall 
w/ a cross-section of films & videos reflecting a posi- 
tion on social, political, economic, cultural & ethnic 
conditions, events & issues. Sponsored by the Int'l Net- 
work of Progressive Film & Video, a nonprofit, mem- 
ber-supported organization established to promote the 
use of ind. films & videos as tools against social injus- 
tice. A labor segment & Labor Video & Film Cultural 
Conference are planned, in conjunction w/ the Labor 
Video Project. Fest endorsed by a number of progres- 
sive organizations in the Bay Area. Format: 35mm, 
16mm, S-8, 3/4", 1/2". Entry fee: $10. Deadline: Aug. 

I. Contact: Int'l Network of Progressive Film & Vid- 
eo, Box 4862, San Francisco, CA 94101; (415) 285- 
8941. 

New York Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film Festi- 
val, Sept. 14-21, New York. First-time showcase for 
avant-garde films by & about lesbians & gay men. In 
particular, programmers seek works by women & third 
world filmmakers. Format: 16mm, S-8. Deadline: 
Aug. 15. Contact: Jim Hubbard, 226 E. 7th St., #1A, 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 505-1758. 

San Francisco International Video Festival, Oct. 1 - 

I I, San Francisco. 8th annual int'l selection of contem- 
porary video art will feature world premieres, multi- 
channel installations & performances in a newly open- 
ed gallery fest home. Last yr's program of 34 videos, 
selected out of 300 entries, was judged by SF artist 
Doug Hall, NY videomaker Dara Birnbaum & Boston 
curator Bob Riley. All participating videos received 
honorarium of $100. Entry titles incl. Anton Boran- 
ich's Pale of Night. Nicholas Gorski's Black Noise, 
Amber Denker's Nagasaki, Lee Eiferman/Kathy 
High's Ena's Adventures, Part One, Jennifer Grey's 
Interiors, Edward Ankus' She Heard Voices, Jon 
Alpert's The Philippines: Life, Death & Revolution & 
the premiere of Bill Viola's / Do Not Know What It Is I 
Am Like. Selected tapes broadcast on a local PBS sta- 
tion & some tapes may participate in a post-fest tour 
of US & Europe In both instances, additional honor- 
arium is paid the videomaker. Entry fee: $15. Dead- 
line: July 3. Contact: Steve Seid, San Francisco Video 
Gallery, 1325 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94103; 
(415)824-9122. 

Visions of US, December, Los Angeles. Sponsored by 
Sony Corp. & administered by the American Film In- 
stitute, competition accepts a videomaker's "view of 
the world" expressed in noncommercial videos up to 
30 mins in fiction, experimental, music video & nonfic- 
tion categories. Prizes of Sony state-of-the-art equip- 
ment go to winners in all cats. Judges last yr incl. Lev- 
ar Burton, Laurie Anderson, Justine Bateman, Georg 
Stanford Brown. Francis Coppola, Edward Olmos & 
Gene Shalit. Top prize-winning videos were Wendell 
Harris' Colette Vignette, Victor Salvas' Something in 
the Basement, Ernest Gusella's Recollections of Anna 
St. Asia, a music video Boys & Girls, produced by the 
Poetry' Learning Project of NYC's John Jay HS & An- 



gelica Cruz' Pete's Steamhath. Awards are presented at 
the National Video Festival. Format: 1/2", Beta, 8mm 
videocassettes; interformat editing allowed. Work 
must have originated on tape. Deadline: Oct. 1. Con- 
tact: Visions of U.S., Box 200, Hollywood, CA 90078; 
(213)856-7745. 

FOREIGN 

Bristol Animation Festival. Oct. 27-Nov. 1, England. 
Formerly the Cambridge Animation Festival, this int'l 
ASIFA-endorsed noncompetitive event will be held at 
Britain's Watershed media center & will feature sever- 
al screenings, exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations 
& guest speakers. Program is based on a number of 
themes, which this yr will incl. a look at the varied 
methods & new techniques of animation production, 
comedy in animation & works relating to the Europe- 
an Year of the Environment. Entries are normally by 
invitation. Preview cassettes may be submitted. Fest 
will only pay for return of preview entries, by 2nd 
class or surface mail. Deadline: July 31. Contact: Irene 
Kotlartz, festival director, Animation Festival Office, 
79 Wardour St., London W1V 3PH; (01) 734-2076. 

Festival dei Popoli International Review of Social 
Documentary Film, Nov. 27-Dec. 5, Italy. The 25th yr 
of this festival, which features a wide cross-section of 
serious social, political & historical issue docs, will 
incl. traditional competition, information & retrospec- 
tive sections, as well as a "Cinema & Rock" section 
documenting significant moments in rock music his- 
tory. The docs in competition are chosen after being 
screened at the fest; the int'l jury determines 3 awards 
w/ cash prizes ranging from 5,000,000 lira to 
20,000,000 lira. The retrospective this yr focuses on 
1944-1946 through newsreels, docs, narrative film 
footage & TV programs; a selection of Dutch ethno/ 
anthropological docs will also be presented. Last yr's 
fest showed 160 entries from 20 countries, w/ special 
emphasis on the third world. 15 films selected for com- 
petition were judged by a jury consisting of film 
director Carlo Lizzani, Sorbonne prof Edgar Morin, 
German film critic Walfron Schutte. US anthropolo- 
gist/filmmaker Jay Ruby & Colin Young of the Edin- 
burgh Film Festival. Among numerous US entries 
screened were All American High, by Keva Rosenfeld: 
Broken Rainbow, by Victoria Mudd & Maria Florio; 
Directed by William Wyler, by Aviva Slesin; Do Not 
Enter: The Visa War against Ideas, by Robert Richter; 
Sons of Shiva, by Robert Gardner; A Weave of Time, by 
Susan Fanshel; Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy, by 
Carlos Ortiz; Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima, by 
John Junkerman & Loving Krishna, by Allen Moore 
& Akos Kostor. Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4" for 
TV productions. Deadline: October. Contact: Mario 
Simondi, secretary general. Festival dei Popoli, Via 
Fiumi 14. 50123 Florence. Italy; tel: (055) 294353. 
telex 575615-FESTIP. 

Ghent International Film Festival of Flanders. 
Oct. 7-17. Belgium. The annual theme of the competi- 
tive section of this fest. now in its 14th yr. is "the 
impact of music on film" & it invites films in which 
music is the major component. 12 entrants vie for 3 
awards of $1500 each, in cats of best soundtrack, best 
musical & best musical doc or narrative film.. Last 
yr's int'l jury, headed by Belgian animation filmmaker 
Raoul Servais. awarded Paul Cox' My First Wife \\ the 
besi soundtrack prize & Ry Cooder won for hi.v score 
ol ' rossroads, by Walter Hill. Films out ofcompeti- 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



tion in the main section of the fest may be awarded 
Filmtrak awards, sponsored by a British film music 
production company, in which top prize of $1000 goes 
to best score unpublished & unreleased as a record & 
other prizes go to winners in the cats of best overall 
sound, song/theme & composer. Sections focus on na- 
tional language films: Latin America, Eastern Europe, 
Far East, English, Spanish, German & French. Other 
special events incl. retrospectives, homages & silent 
movies w/ live orchestral performances. Last yr, 
40,000 attended the screenings of 130 films from 30 
countries. Films in competition must be over 50 mins 
& completed in '86 or '87, unless they have not been 
commercially released in Belgium. All other films 
have no completion date requirements. Format: 70mm, 
35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Aug. 15. Contact: Ronnie 
Pede, festival programmer. International Film Festival 
of Flanders-Ghent, HetCommunicatiehuis.Kortrijkses- 
teenweg 1104B-9820, Ghent, Belgium; tel. (91) 
252512, telex 12750. 

Haifa International FilmFestival, Oct. 10- 14, Israel. 
Considered the annual meeting of Israeli film industry 
professionals, fest occurs during Jewish holiday Su- 
coth & screens features w/ Hebrew subtitles, new 
directors' films seeking commercial Israeli distribu- 
tion, Israeli film premieres, foreign shorts & animation 
films. Fest receives heavy local press coverage. 
Format: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: Aug. 30. Contact: 
Amos Fogel, Haifa 4th International Film Festival, 
142. Hanassi Ave., Haifa, Israel; tel: (04) 386246, 
telex 46787 PGING IL. 

Huesca International Contest of Short Films, 
November, Spain. This competitive fest, organized to 
promote the exposure of short films in the Spanish 
market, has int'l, retrospective & informative sections. 
Films entered cannot have received awards in other 
Spanish fests, must have been completed in the pre- 
ceding yr & be under 45 mins & Spanish subtitled. For 
selected entries, a Spanish translation of all required 
texts must be supplied. All themes are welcome, save 
tourism & publicity. Entrants pay round trip shipping 
& insurance. Awards incl. top prize, the Golden Dan- 
zante, a cash prize of 300,000 Pts. & prizes for narra- 
tive, animation & doc achievement. Format: 35mm, 
16mm. Deadline: Sept. Contact: Certamen Internacion- 
al de Films Cortos, Ciudad de Huesca, Ricardo del 
Arco. 6, 22003 Huesca, Spain; tel: (974) 227058. 

Kijkhuis World Wide Video Festival, September, The 
Hague. 6th edition of this all-video production fest 
will present tapes, installations & performances. Last 
yr's selection of almost 100 tapes rounded out continu- 
ous program shown nonstop over 6 days. US partici- 
pants incl. James Byme, Tony Labat, Dara Bimbaum, 
Laura Kipnis, Andre Burke, Richard Bloes & Susan 
Rynard, w/ installations by Tony Oursler, Morifumi 
Arimura, Giorgio Cattani & Carles Pujol. Following 
the fest's run, it was presented in NYC as part of 
Media Alliance annual conference, which dubbed it 
"the equivalent of the New York Film Festival" for 
ind. video artists. The Kijkhuis is a screening, exhibi- 
tion & distrib facility. Format: 3/4". Deadline: July 1. 
Call before sending in entries. Contact: Tom Van 
Vliet, Kijkhuis World Wide Video Festival, Noor- 
deinde 140 2514 GP Den Haag, Netherlands; tel: 
(070) 644805. 

Leipzig International Documentary & Short Film 
Week for Film & TV, Nov. 20-26, German Democratic 



Republic. This is East Germany's primary int'l film 
event & has historically featured politically oriented 
docs focusing on world peace, socialism, social pro- 
gress & human dignity. Special support has been giv- 
en to third world filmmakers & themes. 1987 will 
mark the 30th yr of the fest, which last yr showed a to- 
tal of 490 films, w/ 68 in competition. A new noncom- 
petitive video sidebar section is growing quickly. 
Awards are offered in feature, short & animation/other 
cats in amounts ranging from 2500 DM to 5000 DM. 
Top prizes last yr went to Wolfgang Pfeiffer's Joe 
Polowsky: An American Dreamer, Miguel Littins' Acta 
General de Chile & Dennis O'Rourke's Half Life. 
Fest's program incl. competition, informational & ret- 
rospective sections, as well as a concurrent market. 
The competition section incl., in addition to doc films 
& TV reports, reconstructed documentations, sections 
of journalistic TV mags & animation. Jonathon Miller 
of Icarus Films, 200 Park Ave. S., #1319, New York, 
NY 10003, (212) 674-3375, is the fest's US contact. 
He will preselect & have info/appl. forms available. 
Selected films sent to GDR by diplomatic pouch for 
final selection. Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4" for presel- 
ection. Deadline: July 15. Festival deadline: Sept. 30. 
Festival address: Komitee Internationale Leipziger 
Dokumentar und Kurzfilmwochen fur Kino und Fern- 
sehen. DDR-1055 Berlin, Chodowieckistr. 32; tel: 
4300617. 

London Film Festival. Nov. 1 2-29, England. The 3 1 st 
edition is newly headed by Sheila Whitaker, formerly 
of the British National Film Theater, who has express- 
ed a commitment to incl. US independents in fest on a 
consistent basis. Fest is invitational, w/ many of the 
films having been seen by programmers at other film 
fests. In fact, prospective entrants are encouraged to in- 
form the fest of others in which their films are show- 
ing prior to Aug. & before sending entries to London 
so that the programmers may schedule viewings at the 
fests they attend. Films should be over 65 mins; for 
shorter films, send info & special invites may be 
extended. All entries must be British premieres. Last 
yr, more than 150 films screened at 9 venues before 
audiences of over 70,000, w/ a wealth of US ind. en- 
tries, incl. Aviva Slesin's Directed by William Wyler, 
Robert Mugge's Saxophone Colossus, Frederick Wise- 
man's Deaf & Blind, Lizzie Borden's Working Girls, 
Jerome Gary's Stripper, Robert Gardner's Forest of 
Bliss, Louis Malle's God's Country, Spike Lee's She's 
Gotta Have It. Ross McEl wee's Sherman' s March, Josh 
Waletzky's Partisans ofVilna, Frank D. Gilroy's The 
Gig, Peggy Stem's Stephanie: Five Years Later, Keva 
Rosenfeld's All American High & films by Doris 
Chase. Fest is noncompetitive but awards the prestig- 
ious British Film Institute prize for the most original 
& imaginative film, which last yr went to Comrades, 
by Bill Douglas. Director Whitaker will be at Indepen- 
dent Feature Market in Oct. in NYC & can be contact- 
ed there. No entry fees. Format: 70mm, 35mm, 16mm; 
3/4" & 1/2" for preview. Fest will pay shipping on 
invited cassettes. Deadline: Aug. 1. Contact before 
sending entries: London Film Festival, National Film 
Theater, South Bank. London SE1 8XT, England; tel: 
(01) 4374355; telex 27624. 

Mannheim International Film Week. Oct. 5-10. Ger- 
many. Celebrating its 36th anniversary, this fest pro- 
grams films "whose contents & form show new devel- 
opments": first features, docs, animated & short 
fiction. Films may compete in several sections: the 
"Grand Prix of Mannheim," w/ cash award of DM 



10,000, goes to a first fiction film over 60 mins. Other 
cash awards range from DM 2000 to DM 3500 & go 
to winning films distinguished by socio-political com- 
mitment & originality. Films made by third world film- 
makers qualify for special prize emphasizing depic- 
tions of self-determination, resourcefulness & int'l 
solidarity. Entries must be German premieres & un- 
shown in competition in other European fests. Films 
premiering at Mannheim will receive special consider- 
ation. Fest pays round trip shipping for selected 
entries. As she has for the past several yrs. director 
Fee Vaillant will be in NYC from July 25 at the AIVF 
offices to prescreen fest entries. AIVF will then ar- 
range a group shipment to Germany of selected films. 
Last yr, Vaillant screened almost 70 films, selecting 
John Junkerman/John Dower's Hellflre: A Journey 
from Hiroshima; Andres Racz' Dolce Patria, Jeffrey 
Skoller's Nicaragua Hear Say See Hear & Nina Men- 
kes' Magdalena Viraga: Story of a Red Sea Crossing. 
Format: 35mm, 16mm; 3/4" or 1/2" for preselection. 
For entry forms, send SASE to AIVF, Mannheim Sel- 
ection, 625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, (212) 
473-3400. The deadline for entries in New York is 
July 1. Fest deadline: Aug. 15. Fest address: XXXVI 
Internationale Filmwoche Mannheim, Rathaus, E5, D- 
6800 Mannheim 1. W. Germany; tel: 06212932745, 
telex 463423 STVMA D. 

Montreal International Festival of New Cinema & 
Video, Oct. 22-Nov. 1. Canada. As an alternative to 
more commercial fests, this was established as a "for- 
um of progressive & innovative cinema." making it a 
natural showcase for US ind. films & videos. Director 
Claude Chamberlan is interested in expanding the num- 
ber of unusual works from the US & will be in contact 
w/ the AIVF offices in Aug. to solicit recommen- 
dations. Last yr. the program incl. 52 features, 19 
shorts & 86 videos from 19 countries, w/ a good num- 
ber of US ind. productions represented. Mark Rappa- 
port's Chain Letters, Spike Stewart's D.U.I. , Spike 
Lee's She's Gotta Have It. Nina Menkes' Magdalena 
Viraga: Story of a Red Sea Crossing, Rachel Reich- 
man's Riverbed, Glenn Silber/Claudia Vianello's 
Troupers, Ross McElwee's Sherman's March & 
Richard Lerner/Lewis MacAdams' What Happened to 
Kerouac? were in feature section; the shorts program 
incl. Christine Mehner's Beethoven' s 5th, Ericka Beck- 
man's Cinderella, Leandro Katz' The Visit & Robert 
Frank's Pull My Daisy. Over 20 US video artists parti- 
cipated, among them Andre Burke. Alex Roshuk, Mari- 
el Odenbach, Nam June Paik. Doug Hall. Bill Viola, 
Burt Barr. Bill Seaman, George Kuchar. Joan Logue, 
Edward Rankus, Dara Birnbaum & David Daniels. 
Quebec critics' award for feature & short films & jury 
award for video production are offered. Film & video 
market is part of the fest. Entry fees: $50 film, $15 
video. Entrant pays round trip shipping fees. Format: 
35mm. 16mm, 3/4". Deadline: Aug. 1. Contact: 
Claude Chamberlan, executive director. Festival Inter- 
national du Nouveau Cinema et de la Video de Mont- 
real, 3724 St. Laurent Blvd., Montreal. Quebec, Cana- 
da H2X 2V8; (514) 843-4725/4711, telex 5560074. 

Montreal World Film Festival, Aug. 21 -Sept. 1, 
Canada. Invitational competitive fest for feature & 
short films, recognized by IFFPA. Sections: official 
competition, hors concours (noncompetitive). British 
cinema, Latin American cinema, new trends, tributes 
& cinema & peace. Very large audiences. A concur- 
rent film, TV & video market focuses on recent & un- 
released films. Format: 35mm. 16mm. Deadline: July 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



11. Contact: Serge Losique, fest director, Montreal 
World Film Festival, 1455 Maisonneuve Blvd. W., 
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8; (514) 848- 
3883, telex 05-25472. 

Nyon International Documentary Film Festival, 
Oct. 10-18, Switzerland. Contemporary social & politi- 
cal issues presented in innovative ways dominate the 
content of films selected for this fest, which has been 
in existence for almost 2 decades. Psychological, cul- 
tural & religious themes also welcomed. Three juries 
judge all entries. The main int'l jury, composed of cin- 
ema professionals & scholars, awards the top prize 
Gold Sesterce, as well as determining the winner of 
the $1500 Prix de Suisse Romande, donated by a 
Swiss TV station. There is also an ecumenical jury, 
which awards films for their treatment of moral & 
ethical issues & a public jury of 15-20 local members, 
who select the best of fest. Preference given to world 
premieres or films which have not participated in other 
Euro, fests. Last yr 3 US ind. films received commen- 
dations: Isaac in America: A Journey with Isaac Bashe- 
vis Singer, by Amram Nowak; The Mexican Tapes, by 
Louis Hock & For Auction: An American Hero, by Ro- 
bert Drew. Other US entries incl. Maxi Cohen's Anger, 
Aviva Slesin's Directed by William Wyler, Robert 
Gardner's Forest of Bliss, Marc Huestis/Wendy Dallas' 
Chuck Solomon: Coming of Age; David Maysles/ 
Albert Maysles/Charlotte Zwerin's Islands, Joan Goss' 
Wild Life & Vivian Schaefer's You Can Fight City 
Hall. All participating filmmakers who attend receive 
hotel & hospitality from the fest. Both film & video 
welcomed; video projection facilities reportedly very 
good. Festival director Erika de Hadeln, along with 
her husband Moritz de Hadeln & Manfred Salzgeber 
of the Berlin Film Festival (he is a consultant to Nyon) 
will be in NYC in mid-July to screen entries, w/ the 
assistance of NY rep Gordon Hitchens. Films must 
have been completed in the 12 mos prior to fest. 
Format: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Sept 1. 
Contact: Gordon Hitchens, 215 W. 85th Street, #3W, 
New York, NY 10024, (212) 877-6856/362-0254. Fes- 
tival address: Nyon International Documentary Film 
Festival, Case Postale 98, CH-1260, Nyon, Switzer- 
land; tel: (022) 616060, telex: 28163 ELEF CH. 

Riofest: International Film, Television & Video 
Festival, November, Brazil. Sponsored by Brazilian 
Assoc, of Film Producers & now in 4th yr, this fest 
presents a wide ranging program of over 200 films & 
videos, as well as seminars, special exhibits, retrospec- 
tives & market w/ buyers from 30 countries. Last yr's 
official competition showcased 16 features judged by 
an int'l jury incl. Brazilian filmmaker Carlos Diegues, 
Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, Erato president Tos- 
can du Plantier, Polish director Jerzy Kawalerowsky & 
Nat'l Film Board of Columbia (FOCINE) head Maria 
Emma de Mejia. Other fest offerings incl. a "best in 
the world" section, featuring films which won prizes 
at other int'l festivals; an "informative showing," ex- 
amining recent productions from several countries; a 
parallel showing of "midnight movies" (underground 
& experimental); a women's panorama of new feature 
& short productions; a Brazilian film retrospective; 
tributes to Portuguese cinema, Raul Ruiz, Mexican 
films by Luis Bunuel, Roger Vadim & the French 
Film Archives. A short film competition section judg- 
ed 7 films. The official video competition featured 
over 100 works in music, fiction, journalism, anima- 
tion & experimental cats. Parallel showing screened 
videos on many subjects, incl. science, Italian work- 



SYNESTHETICS 

Integrated Media Productions 

—VIDEO— 

» Complete post-production 
management 

► Off-line interformat editing 
» EDL generation 

» Striping/burn-in 

—GRAPHICS— 

» Logo creation 

» Full color paint system 

» Image digitization/effects 

► Slide/prints from video 

» Full 3D modeling w/texture 
mapping 

—AUDIO— 

» Midi music synthesis 

» Music scored for video/film 

» Narration recording 

» Sound effects, overdubs, lay-backs 

58 Walker St. • NYC 10013 
212-431-4112 



Asian Cine V i s i 
p y e s e n 




FIRST DECftDE CELEBRflTIOfl 

JUNE II- i 6, 1987 

. ROSEMARY THEATER 
133 Canal Street, New York City 



vi*io 

4£Al 

212-645-3790/1 



For schedule, information eall ( 7 1 7 ) <p q NO.Sq. 



Festival Corporate Sponsor 



AFFORDABLE POST PRODUCTION 



Including: OFF-LINE EDITING 



A/B ROLL 



COMPUTER GRAPHICS 



f R D U C T I N 



Conception to Completion 



5 West 20th St. 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011 



SHIP-SHAPE SHIPPING 

by Wendy Lidell & Victoria Cammarota, 16 pp. 

Everything you wanted to know about transporting your films & 

tapes overseas . . . but were afraid to ask. 

• Post Office regulations 

• International price charts 

• Private shipping services 

• Timetables 

• Important addresses 

$3.00 plus $1.00 postage and handling, payable to AIVF 
AIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 27 



Make your next video shoot 
as happy as this one. 




(tali 

Kingfish 

S BETACAM production package with van 

^Award-winning producers 

^BETACAM to %" or- VHS dubbing with 
time code and window dub 

• %" to %" time code editing with 
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«x Convenient SoHo location 

For a good time call Andy or Louis at 

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KINGFISH VIDEO PRODUCTIONS VIDEO CHOPSHOP • 



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• New JVC 8250 

• Convergence controller 

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• highly experienced editors 
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• convenient location 

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3 / 4 " and VHS with 
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Production packages 
available in all formats 

Call (212) 645-2040 

on frock 



DEO 



ere' movement, children's TV, ind. Latin American 
work, Italian experimental, dance & women's produc- 
tions. US participants incl. Laurie Anderson's Home 
of the Brave, Chantal Akerman/Ulrike Ottinger/Helke 
Sander/Bette Gordon/Maxi Cohen/Laurence Gavron/ 
Valie Export's Seven Women, Seven Sins, videos by 
Wendy Clarke & Shirley Clarke, Larry Cohen's 
Perfect Strangers & Q: The Winged Serpent, Spike 
Lee's She's Gotta Have It, Richard Wilson's produc- 
tion of Orson Welles' It's All True: Four Men on a 
Raft, Edward Zwick's About Last Night & David 
Byrne's True Stories. Many films screened at this fest 
had already been shown elsewhere, w/ some in com- 
mercial distribution, but were new to local audiences. 
Feature & short films in the official competition must 
be 35mm, not entered in other major fests & 
Portuguese subtitled. Prizes are a Golden Tucano for 
best feature, w/ other awards for best director, 
actor/actress & short film. The video sections are 
musical, doc, fiction fall under 60 mins), cartoons 
(under 15 mins) & experimental. Format: 35 mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Deadline: Sept. 30. Fest address: 
Festival Internacional de Cinema, Televisao e Video 
do Rio de Janeiro, General Management, Hotel 
Nacional, Rio, Av. Niemeyer 769, 22450 Rio de 
Janeiro, Brazil; tel: (021) 322-2860/322-2850. telex: 
(021) 22084 ETUR BR. 

San Sebastian InternationalFilm Festival, Sept. 1 7- 
27, Spain. Having regained its competitive "A" cate- 
gory from the FIAPF (Int'l Producers Federation) in 
'85 after 5 yrs w/o, San Sebastian now enters its 35th 
anniv. yr w/ plans to again join the ranks of Europe's 
major fests. Program consists of major competition 
section (20 films last yr; the only US entry was Dan 
Bessie's Hard Travelling) & an Open Zone/New Direc- 
tors section, to which the CIGA hotel chain has 
contributed a $40,000 award. Other sidebars in 1986 
honored Luise Rainer, combined live orchestral music 
w/ Von Stroheim's Greed, screened new Brazilian 
films & focused on a series of Mexican films. US ind. 
films Riverbed, by Rachel Reichman & Parting 
Glances, by Bill Sherwood, competed in the Open 
Zone. San Sebastian programs only features on film, 
however, it also may show shorts under 30 mins, 
preferably in 35mm, to precede features in the competi- 
tive section. Films must have been produced in the yr 
preceding the festival, not shown in other competitive 
festivals & Spanish subtitled. There is a parallel film 
& TV mart. Wendy Lidell is the US rep. In early July 
she will host fest director Diego Galan in NY as he 
makes selections. Format: 35mm, 16mm. Deadline: 
July. Contact: Wendy Lidell, 125 E. 4th St., New 
York, NY 10012; (212) 475-8237. telex: 226078 
AEGISUR. Fest address: Festival Internacional de 
Cine de San Sebastian, Box 397, 20080 San Sebastian, 
Spain; tel: (43) 429625, telex: 38145-FCSS E. 

Sitges International Fantasy Film Festival, Oct. 2- 
12, Spain. Located in elegant summer resort town, this 
fest of horror & sci-fi films will celebrate its 20th 
anniv. this yr. Last yr it featured a large number of 
celebrity guests. Program incl. Big Trouble in Little 
China, Aliens, The Fly, Blue Velvet, Psycho III & 
House. Program serves as launching pad for Euro, 
release of some films. Deadline: August. Contact: 
Joan Luis Goas, Sitges Foto Fdm, Calle San Isidro 12, 
Box 93, Sitges, Spain; tel: (93) 894-1306. 

Uppsala International Film Festival, Oct 16-25, 
Sweden. Last yr 105 shorts & 25 features from 35 
countries made up the fest program held in Uppsala, 



home of Sweden's oldest univ. The lineup incl. section 
devoted to series of features & shorts by US ind. 
filmmakers presenting "a different picture of the US." 
Another section entitled "One Planet/Two Worlds," 
dedicated to Olof Palme, focused on films that 
explored the gaps between the third world & indus- 
trialized countries; Lorraine Gray's Global Assembly 
Line was featured in this section. US ind. filmmakers 
Debra Epstein & Tom Flanagan attended w/ their 
films Czechs & Balances & Altar Boy respectively. No 
fee. Format: 35mm, 16mm; 3/4", 1/2" for preview. 
Cats: fiction, doc, animated, experimental. Deadline: 
Aug. 20. Contact: Uppsala Film Festival, Box 1746, 
75147 Uppsala, Sweden; tel: (46) 018 103010, telex: 
76020. 



The FIVF Festival Bureau has 
established a tape library of 
members' current works to 
expedite screenings for 
upcoming film and video 
festivals. Members interested 
in depositing their work in the 
library should contact: 
Kathryn Bowser, Festival 
Bureau director, FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, 
NY 10012,(212)473-3400. 
1/2" and 3/4" tapes will be 
accepted. 



CORRECTION 

The "Notices" section of the April 
issue contained a typographical error 
resulting in unintended confusion. 
The grants to applicants for the Film 
Fund's 1986 cycle disbursed by 
Media Grants, an independent 
consulting firm established by Lillian 
Jimenez, were inadvertently listed as 
NYSCA Media Grants. We apologize 
for any misunderstanding or 
inconvenience this mistake 
produced. 



INSURE YOUR 
EQUIPMENT 

With membership in AIVF, you can in- 
sure your valuable equipment and protect 
yourself from loss and damage costs. 

• Rate is $2.75 per $100 of value 

• Minimum annual premium $300 

• $250 deductible per claim 

• Automatic $2,500 coverage of owned 
equipment 

For an application, write Ethan Young, 
Membership Services, AIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012. 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 




A blackface minstrel 
routine forms a part of 
indigenous culture of 
racism in the U.S., 
critiqued in Marlon 
Rigg's documentary 
Ethnic Notions. 

Photo: Bob Hsiang 



Renee Tajima 



Animator and experimental filmmaker Chel 
White has just completed his new film short, 
Jump Cut, a collage of dance movement, eroti- 
cism, and the subliminal. According to White, 
Jump Cut is an attempt to bridge the gap be- 
tween experimental film and music video. In the 
film White places emphasis on a strong sound/ 
image relationship, achieved through the rhyth- 
mic rapid cutting of imagery and the synchron- 
icity of editing. The soundtrack is performed by 
Chris and Cosey, a British underground electron- 
ic music group formerly with Throbbing Gristle. 
Jump Cut will be shown on Frontal Exposure, 
the independent film and video series program- 
med by KQED, San Francisco's public televi- 
sion station. Jump Cut: Chel White Films, Box 
15266, Portland, OR 97215; (503) 235-9063. 

Out of the George Lucas Building at the Uni- 
versity of Southern California film school, 
known for the more flamboyant film exploits of 
its alumnae and alumni, comes a sensitive and 
haunting documentary about the homeless. In 
the Wee Wee Hours, a 20-minute documen- 
tary by Izak Ben-Meir, travels the disturbing 
nighttime urban landscape of Los Angeles' Skid 
Row. In it Ben-Mier allows the homeless to 
speak for themselves. The main narrator is a for- 
mer fighter pilot and POW who ended up on 



Skid Row when he was unable to adjust to civil- 
ian life. Other characters discuss their constant 
fear and alienation as the film descends deeper 
into the night, on street corners, at the Union 
Rescue Mission, and in the dwelling that the 
homeless have built by hand. Music for In the 
Wee Wee Hours is performed by Blazing Berry 
with J.J. Bad Boy Homes and the Bad Boys. In 
the Wee Wee Hours: Izak Ben-Mier, 307 Ma- 
rine St., Apt. C, Santa Monica, CA 90405-5441; 
(213)399-1996. 

The 28-minute film How to Shoot a Crime 
represents a collaboration of filmmaker Chris 
Kraus and semiotician Sylvere Lotringer. It is a 
film about death and cities, intercutting inter- 
views with two dominatrixes, a police video- 
grapher, actual crime footage, and a simulated 
murder shot at the edge of the- Fulton Street 
Seaport area of New York City. Kraus describes 
the film as part autobiography, part rock video, 
and part political documentary. Much of the 
archival footage was gathered by Lotringer, the 
editor of Semiote.xt(e), including the interviews 
and crime footage. The material was then recom- 
posed by Kraus, edited at a harsh and aggressive 
clip similar to quick cuts on TV. According to 
the filmmaker, the provocative work-in-pro- 
gress was "banned" at Film/Video Arts, where 
technicians refused to work on any aspect of it, 
and postproduction had to be completed at an- 
other low-cost New York editing facility. How 



to Shoot a Crime: Chris Kraus, 89 Bowery, 5th 
fl., New York, NY 10002; (212) 431-7173. 

Kim L. Wilson and Kelly Candaele have just 
completed their first documentary, A League 
of Their Own, a film about the All American 
Girls Professional Baseball League. The 30-min- 
ute film follows the League from its genesis in 
1943, when Chicago Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley 
organized it to fill the vacuum left by male base- 
ball players who had gone off to war. Wilson 
and Candaele frame the story within a weekend 
reunion of surviving players in Fort Wayne, Indi- 
ana. The women remember roadtrips, where 
they endured almost 120 games per season, and 
the Helena Rubenstein School of Charm, where 
they were instructed in maintaining a "feminine 
appearance." They were required to wear skirts 
designed by Wrigley's wife and played for 
teams throughout the Midwest with names like 
the Kenosha Comets, the Racine Belles, and the 
Rockford Peaches. But the women played 
tough, hard-hitting baseball. Candaele's mother. 
Helen Callaghan. was the League's 1945 batting 
champion, and eventually taught her son Casey, 
now a second basemen for the Montreal Expos, 
how to play ball. Says Callaghan. "They may 
have initially come out to see our pretty legs, 
but when they saw us play they kept coming 
back because we played damn good baseball." 
A League of Their Own was aired nationally on 
the Public Broadcasting Service and will be 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



made available on videocassette later this year. 
A League of Their Own: K&K Productions, 441 
1/2 N. Genesee, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (213) 
655-6766. 

Director Eric Mofford and producer Keith 
Crofford are now in postproduction on Travel- 
in' Trains, a dramatic film based on Mofford's 
own script about a Southern boy's search for his 
father. Travel in' Trains is set in Depression-era 
Georgia. Andre Wiggins plays Sam, the youth 
who sets out to find a father who has become 
well-known along the southern railway as "The 
Snowman," a white blues musician "in a world 
too appropriately blue." On the road, Sam learns 
of music, racism, hard times, and his own des- 
tiny. Crofford and Mofford have already com- 
pleted principal photography on Travelin' 
Trains with support from Appalshop, the Geor- 
gia Council for the Arts, the City of Atlanta, and 
Fulton County. They are currently seeking finan- 
cing to complete the feature-length film. Travel- 
in' Trains: Eric Mofford, 596 Milledge Ct., S.E., 
Atlanta, GA 30312; (404) 659-2281. 

A Singing Stream, the story of a remarkable 
black family from the rural South, has been com- 
pleted by Virginia-based filmmaker Tom 
Davenport and folklorists Daniel Patterson and 
Allen Tullos. The 57-minute film traces the his- 
tory of the Landis family of Granville County, 
North Carolina, over the lifetime of its oldest 
surviving member, 86 year-old Bertha M. Lan- 
dis. Mrs. Landis used the musical gifts of her 



family, religious faith, and black cultural tradi- 
tions to unite, discipline, and motivate her child- 
ren. The musical performances in the film span 
almost a century, from unaccompanied shape- 
note singing to contemporary gospel, including 
the male quartet the Golden Echoes, which in- 
cludes three Landis family members. The film 
took over five years to produce, and is the 
fourth in a series of documentary films entitled 
"American Traditional Cultures Series," which 
is coproduced by the Curriculum in Folklore at 
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
A Singing Stream was awarded a top prize by 
the National Black Programming Consortium in 
the Prized Pieces Competition. A Singing 
Stream: Davenport Films, RR1, Box 527, 
Delaplane, VA 22025; (703) 592-3701. 

Marlon T. Riggs has earned the Best Docu- 
mentary Award at the 1987 San Francisco Inter- 
national Film Festival for Ethnic Notions, his 
long-awaited documentary about racial tension 
and popular culture in the United States. Narrat- 
ed by stage and television actress Esther Rolle, 
the one-hour video examines black American 
caricatures — Coon, Mammy, Uncle, Pickanin- 
ny, and Sambo — and illustrates how these imag- 
es shaped and mirrored changing attitudes to- 
ward race. Ethnic Notions traverses more than 
100 years of racial stereotyping, interweaving 
fiction, folklore, theater, music, animation, news- 
reel footage, and interviews. Taking stock imag- 
es like Amos 'n' Andy, Steppin' Fetchit, and 




Sam arrives at the hobo jam, a scene from 
Eric Mofford and Keith Crofford's feature film 
Travelin' Trains. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



Buckwheat, which dominated American televi- 
sion and movie screens for years, Riggs shows 
how the popular media wrought incalculable 
harm on black Americans. Ethnic Notions pro- 
vides a historical foundation for critical under- 
standing of racism in popular culture. Accord- 
ing to Riggs, "Part of the point of this docu- 
mentary is to get people to think about any ster- 
eotypes of people as they exist today." Ethnic 
Notions: California Newsreel, 630 Natoma St., 
San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-6196. 




29th 

AMERICAN 

FILM 

AND 

VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

* Screenings of 500 New Films and Videos Available 
for Purchase 

* Exhibition Hall Featuring 90 Film/Video Service 
Companies 

* Professional Seminars and Workshops 

* Special Screening Events/Awards Ceremony 

For registration information contact: 
AMERICAN FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL 
45 JOHN STREET, SUITE 301 
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10038 
(212)227-5599 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



■ Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

■ Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 
1 Professional seminars and screenings 

1 Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video' magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 



J 



There's strength in numbers. 

oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

D (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

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CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds 
column includes all listings for "Buy o 
Rent Sell," "Freelancers" & "Post- 
production" categories. It is 
restricted to members only. Each 
entry has a 250 character limit & 
costs $15 per issue. Payment must 
be made at the time of submission. 
Anyone wishing to run a classified ad 
more than once must pay for each 
insertion & indicate the number of 
insertions on the submitted copy. 
Each classified ad must be typed, 
double-spaced & worded exactly 
as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be 
respected. These are the 8th of 
each month, two months prior to the 
cover date, e.g., June 8 for the 
August/September issue. Make 
check or money order— no cash, 
please— payable to FIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy c Rent :■ Sell 



For Sale: JVC KY 310 3-tube Saticon Video Camera 
w/12-1 Fujinon lens & accessories. Less than 100 
hours of use. $4700 negotiable. Supervised test avail- 
able. Call Donald or Jennifer, (212) 874-0132. 

For Sale: Great 2-camera location package. Two 
Eclair ACLs, customized for fast handling. With 5 
mags and much more, too numerous to list. All just 
tuned-up. 2 cameras for (almost) the price of one. 
What a deal! (3 14) 725-8952. 

For Rent: Arri 35 IIC. Battery, tripod, four magazines, 
sync motor. 25, 50, and 75mm lenses. $200 daily. Call 
(212)227-4279. 

For Sale: 6-Plate Steenbeck, Model ST 900W. Main- 
tained by Cinergy, records available. Rewind plate, 
core-holders, audio output jack & other extras. 
$7,500. Call (212) 265-1 157. 

For Sale: Steenbeck (16mm, 6-plate). Good condi- 
tion. Reasonably priced. Call (212) 924-0400, ask for 
Andy. 

For Sale: ACL 400' mag $900, 200' mags $350, ACL 
body w/ perf. optics & movement for field spare 
$1000 or BO. Sony TC-D5 synch recorder, resolver 
$975. Hot splicer $175, Movie-Scope $150, Holly- 
wood rewinds $100. Call Ken, (206) 285-3057. 

For Sale: Arri 16BL camera package. 2 400' mags, 
offset viewfinder, matte box, batt. belt, cases. 
Angenieux zooms 9.5-95mmw/ blimp. 12- 120mm, 10- 
150mm, O'Connor 50 head & tripod. Must sell. Call 
Mark, (212)645-2057. 



For Sale: JVC GRC1U VHS "C" Video Camcorder. 
Complete unit weighs 5 lbs; has Saticon tube, manual 
focus. Great results when transferred to 3/4" or 1". 
Playback direct from unit or with adapter for standard 
VHS. Excellent condition, $500 or trade for 3/4" play- 
er. Ken, (2 1 2) 472-255 1 . 

For Sale: NPR 1 6mm Ang. 1 2- 1 20, $3500 or BO. Up- 
right Moviola, $2000 or BO. Ang. 12-240 CP16 Mt, 
$1500 or BO. Ang. 9.5-57, C-Mt SMR80, $250 or 
BO. Eumig S907 8mm proj., $400 or BO. Norman Ga- 
belman, 1 Holland Ln, Wesley Hills, NY 10952. (914) 
354-4955 M-F aft. 6 & wkends; (201) 456-4480, 9-5. 

Freelancers 

Production: Experienced Network Videographers with 
complete broadcast gear available for long or short 
term projects. We shoot News, Documentaries, Sports 
& Music Videos. Reasonable rates. Call Tony Brown, 
(212)302-0161. 

Production Coordinator. AD, Assoc. Producer, PA, 
Script Supervisor, Continuity, Props & Set Design: 
Interested in film/tape projects, production & post- 
production. Will travel or work in NYC area. Valid 
drivers license, U.S. passport & sense of humor. 
Please call Otie Brown, (212) 645-0619. 

Cinematographer. Lighting Director: available for 
interesting projects in Film or Tape. Reels available & 
rates negotiable. Queries encouraged. Lighting &DXC - 
CCD camera also available. Eric, (212) 349-1918. 

Production Management: 10 yrs exp in Film produc- 
tion w/ strong background in Docs. Attempting career 
shift from union camera dept. member to producer/ 
prod, management. Resume list incl. DP in theatrical 
& documentary; Production manager in commercial 
productions. Leave mess., leads at (212) 349-2205. 

Casting Consultant: Your project demands the best: 
why not have it? W/ both talent agency & management 
exp., I can find actors best suited to all your needs. 
From the norm to the bizarre; big budget or small; 
union or non-union. Also avail to photographers for 
print assignments. Negotiable fees, (212) 685-7151. 

Experienced Gaffer available for interesting projects. 
Lighting packages, generator, location van and crew. 
Call for appointment. J. Anthony Productions, (516) 
294-1038. 

Cameraman with own equipment available. 16 SR, 35 
BL, Superspeed Lenses. Sound Equipment, Lighting 
Van Passport, Certified, Scuba Diver, Speak French, a 
little Spanish. Call (212) 929-7728. 

Soundman fully equipped including Micron radio 
mikes. Features, Commercials, Rock Videos, Docu- 
mentaries. Call Charles or Vinnies at (212) 620-0084. 

Full Service Media Consultant: Complete fundrais- 
ing, marketing, prod. -related assist, for film & video 
producers, directors, writers. Editing scripts/treat 
ments; pitches & proposals for nonprofit & commer- 
cial funders: gov't grants, foundations, corps, indivs. 



studio nets, int'l markets. Power resumes & career 
strats. Barbara Sirota Productions. (212) 213-1326. 

Composer Robert Mitchell has written music for film- 
maker/producer Joseph Feury, this year's Academy 
Award winner for "best documentary" with Down and 
Out in America, broadcast on HBO. Let him score 
your next feature or documentary film. (212) 799- 
3257. 205 W.E.A. Suite 23-H, NYC 10023. 

Publicist w/ 5 yrs exp as independent. 3 yrs w/ p.r. 
firms. Preprod. thru NY & LA openings, incl. unit pub- 
licity. Press kits/releases, media campaigns. Ind. cred- 
its incl. Gringo, Before Stonewall, Gospel, & Athens. 
Ga.: Inside/Out. Publicity for TV shows avail. Reason- 
able rates. Consultation provided. Jeffrey Wise Publi- 
city, 507 E. 12 St, #2B, NYC 10009, (212) 460-8373. 

Cinematographer with 35BL and 16SR to work on 
Student and Independent films. Equipment at reason- 
able rates. Vini, (212) 620-0084. 

Experienced Grip/PA with some Camera/Audio back- 
ground, looking for interesting & challenging overseas 
projects. Video background with some film. Easy- 
going, quick study, very adaptable. Call or write Scott 
Stewart, 159 Hollywood Ave., W. Hartford. CT 
061 10; (203) 727-0742. 

Film Finders will locate & obtain your favorite ob- 
scure old film on VHS. We are expensive but good. 
For information, send request & s.a.s.e. to Film Find- 
ers, Box 4351#453fvm, LA, CA 90078 



Postproduction 



Super 8 to Video Transfer: broadcast quality, 8mm, 1 6 
& slides to all video formats. Dubs, 3/4" edit. Econ- 
omy transfers. Special: 1/2 price Mondays for super- 
vised transfers. Caring personnel. Landy Vision, 400 
E. 83 St, NY, NY 10028, 734-1402. 

Negative Matching: 16mm, super 16. 35mm cut for 
regular printing, blowup, or video transfer. Credits in- 
clude Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders & Yvonne Rainer. 
Reliable results at reasonable rates. One White Glove. 
Tim Brennan, (718) 897^*145, NYC. 

Bob Brodsky&ToniTreadway: Super 8 & 8mm film- 
to-video mastering with scene-by-scene color correc- 
tion to 3/4". I" & high speed components. By appoint- 
ment only. Call (617) 666-3372. 

SoundTransfers: 1 6/35mm, 24/25/30 fps, center, edge 
& multi track, time code capable, state of the art equip- 
ment (includes Time Code Stereo & Mono Nagras). 
Evening & weekend service available, convenient 
downtown location. Discount to AIVF & NABET 
members & for grant funded projects. Downtown 
Transfer/Billy Sarokin. (212) 255-8698. 

16mm Flatbeds: 6-plate flatbeds for rent in your work- 
space or fully equipped downtown editing room with 
24 hr. access. Cheapest rates in NYC for independent 
filmmakers. Call Philmaster Productions. (212) B73 
4470. 



JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



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Collective for Living Cinema is available as a 16mm 
Screening Facility on a per hour rental basis. Excellent 
projection & sound, very reasonable rate. 150 person 
capacity. 4-plate moviola flatbed also available. Call 
925-3926. 

Skylight Pictures. Inc. off-line VHS editing room for 
rent. State of the art Panasonic 5600 decks, controller, 
Sony monitors, Tascam 8 channel mixer. An inex- 
pensive way to edit Betacam or 3/4" transfers to VHS 
or VHS original. 5100/day, 10 am-6 pm. Call Peter 
Kinoy, supervising editor, (212) 947-5333. 

Negative Matching: Accurate and clean cutting. 35 
mm, 16mm for printing or video transfers. Laboratory 
liaison with Technicolor & Studio Film Lab. Coda 
Film's Independent clients include Ericka Beckman, 
Charles Atlas, and Chantal Akerman. Call (212) 265- 
1191, ask for Andre. 

Video Industrial Editing & Character Generator 
1/2" VHS editing and 3/4" Sony VO-5800/5850 
$10/hour, $20/hour with editor. Character Generator: 
$20/hour. Educational Video Center, (212) 219-8129. 

16mm Editing Rooms: Fully equipped with 6-plate & 
8-plate flatbeds, complete bench w/ sync, viewer, etc. 
24-hr access. Secure, convenient Upper West Side 
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York's only up-the-block, round-the-clock editing 
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FIVF THANKS 

The Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF), the foundation affiliate 
of the Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a 
variety of programs and services for the 
independent producer community, includ- 
ing publication of The Independent, main- 
tenance of the Festival Bureau, seminars 
and workshops, an information clearing- 
house, and a grant making program. 
None of this work would be possible 
without the generous support of the fol- 
lowing agencies, foundations and organ- 
izations: The New York State Council on 
the Arts, the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency, the Governor's 
Office of Motion Picture and Television 
Development, the Morgan Guaranty 
Trust Company of New York, the Consol- 
idated Edison Company of New York, 
the Benton Foundation, the Funding Ex- 
change, and the dozens of organizations 
that advertise in The Independent. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. 
AIVF members receive first priority; 
others are included as space permits. 
The Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length. 
Deadlines for Notices will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of the 
month, two months prior to cover 
date, e.g., June 8 for the 
August/September issue. Send 
notices to Independent Notices, FIVF, 
625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 



Conferences • Workshops 

National Alliance of Media Arts Centers annual 
conference, June 16-18, Vista Hotel, New York City. 
Will concentrate on distribution of independent media. 
For information, contact: Carmen Ashurst, c/o EFLA, 
45 John St., Suite 301, New York, NY 10038; (212) 
227-6989/(718)773-1163. 

Downtown Community TV Center offers introduc- 
tory workshops in TV prod. & intermediate editing w/ 
3/4" & VHS; video prod, equipment; editing & 
dubbing facilities on Beta, VHS & 3/4" & screening 
facility. Contact: DCTV, 87 Lafayette St., New York, 
NY 10018; (212) 966-4510. 

National FederationofLocal Cable Programmers: 
1987 National Convention, July 16-18, Chicago Hilton 
& Towers. This yr's theme, "Community Program- 
ming: Voices of Diversity," to incl. over 100 work- 
shops & discussion sessions covering local program- 
ming mgmt., funding, promotion, training & prod., 
issues in govt, cable policy & constituency sessions. 
Also showcase of local programming, exhibit area & 
Hometown USA Video Festival awards night. Con- 
tact: NFLCP, 906 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Washing- 
ton, DC 10003; (202) 544-7272. 

Foundation for Community Service Cable TV: 
Spring Education series incl. workshops in Califor- 
nia's Oakland & Orange counties: "'Long Range Plan- 
ning for the Local Channel," June 10 (Oakland) & 
June 4 (Orange Co.) & "Cable Boards, Commissions 
& Advisory Committees," June 13 (Oakland) & June 
6 (Orange Co ). Contact: Foundation for Community 
Service Cable TV, 5010 Geary Blvd., Ste. 3, San Fran- 
cisco, CA 941 18; (415) 387-0200. 

New York University: School of Continuing Educa- 
tion Filmmaking Program noncredit courses: "Making 
a Living as a Director," June 18; "Home Video: Inde- 
pendent Development, Production & Distribution," 
June 13; "Filmmaking: Techniques & Technology," 
June 8-July 22; "Film Production I," July 7-Aug. 6. 
Free career seminar offered June 2, incl. special stu- 
dent film screening. Contact: NYU. School of Continu- 
ing Education Filmmaking Program, 326 Shimkin 
Hall, 50 W. 4th St., New York, NY 10003; (212) 598- 
2116. 

Great Labor Arts Exchange: 3-day workshop incl. 
workshops on writing, performing & promoting labor 
culture; developing skits & cultural programs for 

JUNE 1987 



union mtgs & more. Presented by the Labor Heritage 
Foundation at the George Meany Center for Labor 
Studies near Washington, DC. Contact: Labor Heri- 
tage Foundation, 815 16th St., NW, Rm. 301, Washing- 
ton, DC 20006; (202) 842-7880. 

Films • Tapes Wanted 

South Carolina Arts Commission: Open solicitation 
for film/video artists for the 1988 Southern Circuit, a 
tour of 6 artists who will present screenings in 7 south- 
ern cities. Submit printed material only, incl. resume 
& publicity for round one of selection process. Dead- 
line: July 3, 1987. Send materials to: SCAC Media 
Arts Center, 1800 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201, 
Attn: Susan Leonard, exhibition coordinator. 

Native American Public Broadcasting Consor- 
tium seeks video & film productions by, for, or about 
Native Americans as possible addition to videotape 
library. Send tapes to: NAPBC, Program/Project 
Director, Box 83111, Lincoln, NE 6850 1 . 

National Council on Family Relations invites film, 
video & filmstrip entries for annual Media Awards 
Competition. Categories focus on human development 
across life span, parenting issues, marital & family is- 
sues & communication, alcohol & drug abuse, human 
reproduction & family planning, stress, transition & 
crisis mgmt., social issues, abuse & neglect, and spec- 
ial needs. Contact: MAC Coordinator, Nat'l Council 
on Family Relations, 1910 W. County Rd., B, Ste. 
147, St. Paul, MN 551 13. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

Reliable Editors needed for cable series of training 
tapes that will enable people to launch their own video- 
movie, performance sport, home theater, topical cabar- 
et, etc. using techniques tested since 1953 Chicago 
Compass. VHS or Beta One. Contact: David Shepherd, 
Group Creativity Inc., Box 70, #2 Washington Sq. 
Village, New York, NY 10012; (212) 777-7830, 
mssgs (212) 420-9402. 

Film in the Cities is now accepting apps for a 1-yr 
NEA internship in film, video & performance exhibi- 
tion. Begins Sept. 2 w/ yearly stipend of $11,500. 
App. deadline: July 13. Send letters, resumes & list of 
3 references to: Film in the Cities, 2388 University 
Ave., St. Paul, MN 551 14. 

Position Available: Film prod, facilities manager. 
Responsible for policy development, managing 
student use & expediting maintenance of film prod, 
facility incl. 16 mm equip. BA & professional 
experience in film prod, required as well as strong 
managerial & interpersonal skills. Salary: $19-21,000. 
Send resume & 3 letters of recommendation to: 
Leighton Pierce, Dept. of Communication Studies, 
Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. 

Wanted: Man to teach basic video to imprisoned & at- 
risk youth. Part-time, paid position that will incl. 
working w/ youth as video instructor, asst. theater & 
circus arts instructor (will train qualified applicant) & 
admin, activities. Possibility of working on video 











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AFTERIMAGE 

Ideas and events in independent film, 
photography, video, and publishing. 

Subscriptions (10 issues annually) are a benefit of membership 

in the Visual Studies Workshop. Individuals, $28.00; 

institutions, $32.00. Sample copies available on request. 

Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St., Rochester, NY 14607. 



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docs. Resumes to: Sidewalks of New York Prods, Box 
968, Old Chelsea Sta., New York, NY 101 13. 

Position Available: Director, Hall walls Contemporary 
Arts Center. Oversee artistic & fiscal direction of or- 
ganization; supervise & recruit professional curatorial 
& administrative staff of 10; financial planning, incl. 
preparation of budgets, fundraising & work w/ board 
of directors. Send letter of app., resume, statement of 
salary requirements & 3 references to: Search Comm.. 
Hallwalls, 700 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202; (716) 
854-5828. 

Video ARTiST-iN-RESiDENCE:Oct.'87-Sept.'88. Respon- 
sibilities incl. teaching video to young adults & work- 
ing on special projects. Familiarity w/ combining 
video & computer functions important. Residency re- 
quires 40% time to museum-related projects & 60% 
devoted to artist's own work. Also asst. curator posi- 
tion available to assist in all aspects of exhibition plan- 
ning, research & implementation & catalog prod; 
maintain curatorial files, handle daily requests & 
correspondence. Send cover letter & resume to: Philip 
Verre, chief curator. Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 
Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456. 

Wanted: Bookkeeper, 2 days/month, for small non- 
profit film company. Knowledge of IBM PC required. 
Contact: Kathy Kline, 617 West End Ave., New York, 
NY 10024; (212) 724-9302. 



Publications • Software 

Chicago Area Film & Video Directory is now in prod. 
Listing of independent film & video makers will incl. 
guide to previously produced programs. Directory will 
be distr. at Chicago Area Film & Video Network 
Conf. held at Columbia College. June 5-7, in Chicago. 
Contact: CAFVN, Box 10657, Chicago, IL 60610: 
(312)661-1828. 



Resources • Funds 

Western States Regional Media Fellowship: Project 
grants in amounts from $1-5,000 will be awarded to 
western states' film & video artists for prod, expenses 
of proposed new works or works in progress. The 
Washington States Arts Commission will award an 
additional $5,000 to the highest-ranked grant recipient 
residing in Washington. Contact: Patti Bruck. program 
coordinator. Rocky Mountain Film Center. Box 316, 
Univ. of Colorado, Boulder. CO 80309-0316; (303) 
492-1531 or 492-2948. 

New York Foundation for the Arts: $6,000 fellow- 
ships for individual NYS artists. '88 grant app. dead- 
lines: playwriting & screenwriting. Aug. 31; film & 
photography. Sept. 8; video & performance art/emerg- 
ing forms, Sept. 28. Contact: Artists Fellowship Pro- 
gram, NYFA. 5 Beekman St., Ste. 600, New York, 
NY 10038; (212) 233-3900. 

Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Assn. subsidy- 
grants avail, to members of PIFVA; funds provided by 
the PA Council on the Arts. Funds awarded for specif- 
ic, targeted services vital to the project's completion, 
performed at below commercial rates. Average grants 
$250-500. Deadline: June 1. For apps, contact: 
PIFVA, Int'l House, 3701 Chestnut St.. Philadelphia. 
PA 19104; (215) 387-5125. 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE 1987 



New York Council for the Humanities: Proposal 
deadline: June 1. Contact: NYCH, 198 Broadway, 
10th fl.. New York, NY 10038; (212) 233-1 131. 

Visual Arts Residency Program: Sponsored by Mid 
Atlantic States Arts Consortium, supports organiza- 
tions that host residencies of 2 wks-3 mos by individ. 
artists, arts organization staff members, art critics & 
curators. Nonprofits located in DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY, 
PA, VA & WV. Application deadline: July 15. Con- 
tact: Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Box 7467, Pittsburgh, PA 
15213. 

Trims & Glitches 

Kudos to AIVF member winners of Southeast Film & 
Video Fellowships: Julie Dash, Mark Mori, Ross 
Spears, Nancy Tasecko, Tom Davenport, Elizabeth 
Barret, Lucy Massie Phenix, Andrew Garrison, Eric 
Mofford, & Herb E. Smith. 

Congratulations to Robert Walker, who has been 
awarded an Equipment Access Grant from the South 
Carolina Arts Commission. 

Kudos to recipients of National Endowment for the 
Humanities general programs grants: Samuel H. McEl- 
fresh, American Federation of Arts for "Art & Arti- 
sans: Ethnographic Art Documentaries from the Mar- 
garet Mead Film Festival" traveling exhibition; Orinne 
Takagi. Film News Now Foundation for "The Two 
Koreas;" Gene Searchinger, Language Project for four 
films on language; Robert Geller, Learning in Focus, 
"Rites of Passage: American Short Stories;" Mordecai 
H. Bauman, "The Stations of Bach;" Susan Fanshel. 
"A Weave of Time: The Story of a Navajo Family 
1938-1986;" Mary E. Lance, "The Diego Rivera Film 
Project;" Diane Garey, Niagara University, "The His- 
tory of the American Nurse Film Project." 

Kudos to winners of the Baltimore Film Forum Film- 
makers Competition: Jane Aaron, Sheila Sofian. John 
Hess, Debra Epstein, Tia J.T. Lemke, Joe Chappelle. 
Nan Helm, David Sutherland, Lucy Masie Phenix, 
Theresa Tollini, Robert Richter/Catherine Warnow, 
Nancy Kelly. Anita Thacher, Roberta Cantow, Jem 
Cohen. & Susan Rosenberg 

Kudos to Joan Jonas, winner of the 3rd annual $10,000 
Polaroid Video Art Award for her video performance 
Volcano Saga. 

Congratulations to Louis Massiah, winner of the 
Micheaux Award for Best Documentary at the 14th 
Annual Black Filmmakers" Hall of Fame for his video 
The Bombing of Osage Avenue. 

Kudos to Elizabeth Perez-Luna, whose radio series 
One People, Many Voices won the Ohio State Award 
from the Institute for Education by Radio-Television. 

Women Make Movies will be honored this year around 
the world for its 15th anniv. w/ programs at the Chica- 
go-based Women in the Director's Chair annual fest, 
and at the Ateneo de Caracas in Venezuela. 



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The Workshops otter two programs each year - Spring in Ojai, California and Summer in Rockport. 
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JUNE 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



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INDEPENXNr 



JULY 1987 

VOLUME 10, NUMBER 6 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Managing Editor: 

Associate Editor: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Staff: 

Production Staff: 

Art Director: 

Advertising: 



National Distributor: 



Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Patricia Thomson 
Renee Tajima 
Kathryn Bowser 
Bob Brodsky 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Quynh Thai 
Toni Treadway 
Raina Fortini 
Ruth Copeland 
Christopher Holme 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
1 13 E. Center St. 
Nutley, NJ07110 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times 
yearly by the Foundation for Independent 
Video and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 
9th Floor, New York, NY 10012, (212-473- 
3400), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educa- 
tional foundation dedicated to the 
promotion of video and film, and by the 
Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the national trade 
association of independent producers and 
individuals involved in independent video 
and film. Subscription is included with 
membership in AIVF. Together FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educa- 
tional and professional services for 
independent and the general public. 
Publication of The Independent is made 
possible in part with public funds from the 
New York State Council on the Arts and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, a 
federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be re- 
turned unless a stamped, self-addressed 
envelope is included. No responsibility is 
assumed for loss or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be 
addresssed to the editor. Letters may be 
edited for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Foun- 
dation for the Independent Video and 
Film, Inc., except where otherwise noted. 
Reprints require written permission and 
acknowledgement of the articles previous 
appearance in The Independent. ISSN 
0731-5198. 

© Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 1987 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Ethan Young, membership/ 
programming director; kathryn Bowser, festival 
bureau director; Morton Marks, business manager; 
Raina Fortini, administrative assistant; Sol Horowitz, 
Short Film Showcase project administrator. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Joyce Bolinger 
(chair), Robert Richter (president), Howard Petrick 
(vice president), Robin Reidy (secretary). Adrianne 
Benton," Christine Choy (treasurer), Loni Ding, Lisa 
Frigand." Richard Lorber,* Tom Luddy, Deanna 
Morse, Lawrence Sapadin (ex officio), Steve Sav- 
age,* Brenda Webb, Barton Weiss, John Taylor 
Williams. 
" FIVF Board of Directors only 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

10a Puerto Rican Legacy: Cinema and Social Reform 

by Quynh Thai 

I Films with a Purpose: A Puerto Rican Experiment in Social Films 

by Ines Mongil Echandi and Luis Rosario Albert 

1 5 Dessert Hearts 

by Mandy Merck 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

The Monopoly Game: The MPAA and NCTA Trade Insults 

by Martha Gever 

Cable Company Loses in Erie 

by Patricia Thomson 

Keeping Tabs on CPB/The American Experience Guidelines 

by Renee Tajima 

Lumiere Lives 
New Directions 
Sequels 

8 IN FOCUS 

Basic Survival in Super 8, or How to Become a Super 8 Sleuth 

by Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway 

18 FESTIVALS 

FESPACO Forever 

by Clyde Taylor 

AFI Recovers Filmex Fumble 

by John Greyson 

In Brief 

27 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Renee Tajima 

29 CLASSIFIEDS 

30 NOTICES 

32 MEMORANDA 

Summary of AIVF/FIVF Minutes 



COVER: Juan sin Senso (Brainless John), a 1959 film on the need to guestion advertising 
rhetoric, was one of the many works produced by the Division of Community Education 
in Puerto Rico between 1947 and 1964, and recently resurrected from Puerto Rican 
archives and presented in the program, "Films with a Purpose: A Puerto Rican Experi- 
ment in Social Films." In this issue, the program's organizers provide a historical over- 
view of this New Deal-style project, and, in "A Puerto Rican Legacy: Cinema and Social 
Reform," Quynh Thai considers its social and cinematic significiance in Puerto Rico and 
for other third world countries. Photo by Papo Colo, courtesy Exit Art. 



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I LETTERS 



SERIES BUSINESS 

To the editor: 

In their letter to the editor [April 1987] the pro- 
ducers of When the Mountains Tremble take ex- 
ception to my remark ["Media Clips," December 
1 986] that I would hesitate to program a film like 
theirs in the first year of a documentary series on 
public television. They go on to say that such a 
series "must be pursued to include the indepen- 
dent community's strongest and most creative 
documentaries without regard to form or con- 
tent." They are right of course: such a series 
should include the strongest work available. 

I fear I made my point badly. It really wasn't 
my intention to talk about excluding films. What 
I was trying to say was that I would like to use the 
series to expand the definition of what is "accept- 
able" to the people who ultimately decide what the 
public will see — the staff at PBS and at each one 
of the system's 317 stations. And, if the first 
season is successful, I think it will be much easier 
to do that. 

I should point out that this discussion is some- 
what academic since, as of this writing, the 
money's not in place to do the series. Unless 
independent producers and the organizations 
which represent them start asking funders why 
this is the case, there may be no series. But I would 
like to assure Yates, Kinoy, and Siegel that, if 
there is a series, I will do everything I can to see 
that the strongest and most creative work is in- 
cluded in it. 

— Marc N. Weiss 

executive producer, 

The American Documentary 

New York, NY 



FIVF TAPE LIBRARY 

The FIVF Festival Bureau has estab- 
lished a tape library of members' cur- 
rent works to expedite screenings for 
upcoming film and video festivals. 
Members interested in depositing their 
work in the library should contact: 
Kathryn Bowser, Festival Bureau di- 
rector, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor. 
New York, NY 10012, (212) 473- 
3400. '/:" and 3 A" tapes will be ac- 
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THE MONOPOLY GAME: 

THE MPAA AND NCTA TRADE INSULTS 



As both the Motion Picture Association of Amer- 
ica, publicly represented by Jack Valenti, and the 
National Cable Television Association, presided 
over by James Mooney, turn up the heat fueling 
their contest for hegemony in various entertain- 
ment markets, industry outsiders — from public 
broadcasters to independent producers — are re- 
ceiving appeals for support from both camps. 
Although the MPAA has most often taken the 
offensive, charging the major cable multiple sys- 
tem owners (MSOs) with monopoly ambitions, 
the NCTA has countered with its white paper, 
"The 'Compulsory Cartel': A Survey of the 
Motion Picture Studios' Drive for Dominance 
over Program Supply and Exhibition" (issued in 
November 1986), followed by a supplement, 
"How Hollywood Is Muscling Independent Thea- 
ters, Producers, and Television Stations" (April 
1987). At the April meeting of the National Asso- 
ciation of Public Television Stations Valenti 
sought a united front for reregulation of the cable 
industry. Valenti 's remarks were met with an 
enthusiastic reception, due to the flurry of cable 
channel repositioning and the elimination a num- 
ber of smaller public stations from cable distribu- 
tion following the recent revision of cable's must- 
carry rules [see "Dawning Hopes and Sunsets for 
Must-Carry," June 1987]. As quoted in the cable 
industry's trade publication Multichannel News, 
Valenti exhorted the PTV reps, "You are now 
beholden to a cable monopoly system as to 
whether or not you will be allowed to compete for 
a viewer's attention. As cable grows, your future 
is put to hazard." And Variety repeated his vivid 
analogy, "Choice is to the cable monopoly what 
sunlight is to vampires." 

Given the statistics contained in the NCTA's 
white paper, however, Valenti has little reason to 
worry about his constituency's financial health. 
Like the cable industry, the major Hollywood 
studios have benefitted from the laissez faire 
treatment of the entertainment industry during the 
Reagan years. According to the study, the in- 
volvement in theatrical exhibition — not to men- 
tion production and distribution — attained by the 
nine or 10 majors in 1986 resembles the vertical 
integration of the industry that led to federal 
investigations and subsequent withdrawal of the 
studios from the exhibition business in 1948. As 
the Justice Department apparently turns a blind 
eye, studio ownership of movie theaters has in- 
creased dramatically while independent theaters 
feel the squeeze. The list of acquisitions — either 



outright ownership or substantial interest in thea- 
ter chains — by the Hollywood giants or their 
parent companies mushroomed in 1986, ap- 
proaching nine percent of all the screens in the 
U.S. by the end of the year. As a result, indepen- 
dent theater owners have begun to complain 
loudly about collusion between the studios and 
the theaters they control as well as between the 
various studio distribution entities — practices 
such as withholding films, limited prints, pres- 
sures to block book or blind book, and so on. The 
National Association of Theater Owners, which 
less than a year ago promised to protect their 
independent members from these incursions, has 
reversed their position, deciding instead to at- 
tempt compromises with the powerful MPAA. 

The NCTA document also cites the recent pat- 
tern of increased studio ownership of independent 
television stations as yet another example of 
Hollywood's lust for control of entertainment 
outlets. Via this route, contends the NCTA, the 
industry biggies have managed to secure several 
of "the most powerful and successful indepen- 
dent broadcast stations in the country" and, along 
with them, the allegiance of their trade group, the 
Association of Independent Television Stations 
(INTV). With or without MPAA incitement, 
however, independent TV stations have cause to 
join the anti-cable campaign, as they watch cable 
systems gobble up some of their most profitable 
bread and butter — sports programming, for ex- 
ample. 

Independent producers, too, have a stake in 
these developments. "The Compulsory Cartel" 
notes that "in 1986, over half (53%) of indepen- 
dent productions failed to achieve domestic re- 
lease. At the same time, the eleven largest Holly- 
wood distributors captured more than 93% of the 
1986 domestic box-office revenues." In March 
1987, their share reached 96 percent. And the 
NCTA paper concurs with Variety writer Law- 
rence Cohn's prediction: "With integrated suppli- 
ers/exhibitors in the marketplace, it will become 
even more difficult for the smallfry who own no 
theaters. ..to enter the marketplace." Producers 
hoping to bypass the Hollywood heavies by 
means of ancillary videocassette markets should 
note that the studios' video distribution compan- 
ies accounted for 68 percent of all pre-recorded 
videocassette sales in the U.S. in 1985. 

The grand prize for the victor in this power 
struggle is TV programming dollars. Having 
completed a geat deal of its planned capital con- 



struction and strung enough wires to reach over 75 
percent of the homes in the U.S., the cable indus- 
try has initiated significant forays in the business 
of program production, presently a lucrative ac- 
tivity of the major studios. NCTA statistics report 
that the major MPAA members accounted for 
about half of the offerings on primetime network 
TV in the U.S. (not including theatrical films) 
during the 1986-87 season — in terms of license 
fees and minutes of airtime — and a similar per- 
centage (45 percent) of the syndicated program- 
ming marketplace. Thus, the MPAA and its allies 
such as the INTV are challenging the cable 
MSO's growing concentration — and their conse- 
quently enhanced clout in program acquisition 
and production — before the FCC and from the 
podiums where Valenti holds forth on the evils of 
cable monopolies. 

For most independents, many of the accusa- 
tions of noncompetitive practices flying back and 
forth seem disingenuous, at best. But the indus- 
tries' exchange of insults, backed by facts and 
figures, has exposed the expansionist goals of 
both groups, as well as their relative successes 
allowed by sympathetic government policies — 
deregulation for cable and increased tolerance for 
vertical integration in the motion picture trade. 

MARTHA GEVER 



CABLE COMPANY LOSES 
IN ERIE 

Municipal governments have won an important 
round in their battle with cable operators over 
regulatory authority. In Erie Telecommunica- 
tions, Inc. vs. City of Erie, a Pennsylvania cable 
operator challenged the constitutionality of fran- 
chise fees and access requirements — the first in 
the federal courts. In arriving at a decision favor- 
able to the city. Judge Glenn Mencer found Erie 
Telecommunication's (ETI) argument that these 
regulations violated its rights of free speech and 
equal protection to be "unpersuasive." 

The case of ETI vs. Erie was being closely 
monitored since ETI filed suit and stopped pay- 
ments to the city in 1985, five years after having 
won a 10-year franchise. Had this case been won 
by the cable operator, it would have put into 
question the legality of countless other cable fran- 
chise agreements across the country written along 
similar lines. But now. by upholding the city's 



4 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



right to collect a five percent franchise fee and to 
require financial and in-kind support for the 
system's 13 public, educational, and government 
access channels, the case could be an important 
precedent in future law suits. 

In his 59-page opinion. Judge Mencer address- 
ed several critical points regarding cable's defin- 
ition and rights. The court agreed with the city that 
cable is a "natural monopoly." This is a definition 
the cable industry has been loathe to accept, since 
it establishes grounds for government regulation. 
ETI vs. Erie thus undermines the "electronic 
publisher" analogy advocated by the cable 
industry seeking the same full First Amendment 
protection enjoyed by newspapers. Mencer found 
that, unlike newspapers and unlike television and 
radio, the cable industry is dependent on using 
public property — the streets — as a conduit for 
dissemination. A cable company both "interferes 
with and derives profit from the use of the public 
rights-of-way." Therefore, the city not only has 
the right to impose rental fees, but has the 
fiduciary responsibility to do so. Furthermore, 
these fees need not be used solely for cable-related 
regulatory and administrative costs, as ETI 
contended. Because of these and other 
"compelling interests" supporting the city's 
regulations and because these regulations were 
not "discriminatorily motivated," the court found 
that ETI's right to equal protection had not been 
violated. 

In his statements on the limits of the cable 
company's First Amendment rights, Mencer re- 
ferred several times to Red Lion Broadcasting vs. 
F.C.C. This landmark case stressed that the differ- 
ent characteristics of news media warrant differ- 
ent First Amendment standards. In addition, Red 
Lion declared, "It is the purpose of the First 
Amendment to preserve an uninhibited market- 
place of ideas in which truth will ultimately pre- 
vail, rather than countenance monopolization of 
that market, whether it be by Government itself or 
a private license." In response to ETI's claim that 
access requirements infringe upon its freedom of 
speech, Mencer countered that, while true to a 
limited degree, access requirements are justified 
because they "further secure the foundation upon 
which the first amendment is grounded — promo- 
tion of a marketplace of ideas." He also noted that 
ETI has ample room to exercise free speech on the 
71 channels (out of 84) that it does control. 
Mencer emphasized the merits of community 
participation in cable, citing a prior ruling stating, 
"If cable is to become a constructive force in our 
national life, it must be open to all Americans. 
There must be relatively easy access. ..for those 
who wish to promote their ideas, state their views, 
or sell their goods and services.... This unfettered 
flow of information is central to freedom of 
speech and freedom of press which have been 
described correctly as the freedom upon which all 
of our other rights depend." 

ETI also alleged that the Erie City Council and 
the Access Channel Board of Managers, whose 



members are appointed by city council, act as 
"censorship czars" of access channels. According 
to the court, since ETI has no editorial control over 
these channels, it lacks standing to challenge their 
operation. This must be done by an injured party 
with a "personal stake in the outcome of the 
controversy." 

While the Supreme Court has not ruled on the 
constitutionality of access regulations, Mencer 
noted, Congress has plainly expressed its support. 
In the Cable Communications Act of 1984, Con- 
gress found that the content-neutral structure of 
public access fosters "a diversity of viewpoints," 
and access requirements "may provide a way of 
promoting diversity without straining the First 
Amendment." 

PATRICIA THOMSON 

KEEPING TABS ON CPB 

It's been three years since the Program Fund of the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting first agreed 
to meet regularly with representatives from the 
Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting 
Producers. By all accounts, the two groups remain 
deadlocked over many issues concerning the role 
of independents in public broadcasting. Conse- 
quently, the coalition has emerged as less of a 
lobbying group and more of a watchdog — keep- 
ing tabs on trends and policy initiatives inside 
CPB. 

On May 8 the coalition met again with the 
Program Fund staff in Washington, D.C. Their 
primary aim was to push for hard numbers on the 
use of independently-produced programs by 
public broadcasting — a move that could lay the 
groundwork for revitalized lobbying efforts in 
Congress. Such a study conducted in 1 979, "Utili- 
zation of Independent Producers Among Public 
Television Licensees," was used in early battles 
waged by independents. For starters, the coalition 
proposed a joint research effort with the Program 
Fund and requested a breakdown of all production 
funds allocated for Frontline programs. However, 
the Program Fund claimed not to have a complete 
list of all Frontline's programs, and would make 
no commitment to reconstruct such a list from 
scratch. The proposal for a more general research 
project remains on the table. 

Another new item of business brought to CPB 
by the coalition was the question of copyright pro- 
tection of independent work aired on PBS. Repre- 
sentatives from the West Coast, David Bolt and 
James Yee, voiced concerns about the absence of 
disclaimers or riders warning against off-air tap- 
ing, leaving an open window for potential buyers 
to record free dubs. Last April, KQED-San Fran- 
cisco aired Marlon Rigg's Ethnic Notions. When 
the film's distributor, California Newsreel, con- 
tacted the Ethnic Studies departments in over 20 
northern California colleges for possible rentals 
and sales, virtually all had taped the program from 
the KQED broadcast. According to CPB's con- 











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tracts officer, Joe Widoff, the Annenberg Project 
faced the same problem with its telecourse pro- 
grams. The West Coast representatives recom- 
mended that PBS tag on a statement similar to the 
FBI warnings on videocassettes. Widoff agreed to 
explore the possibility. 

Other business covered follow-up discussions 
to earlier coalition proposals: 

1 . Open Solicitations: The Coalition requested 
an increase in Open Solicitation funds for 
FY 1989, since the Program Fund has already de- 
clined a request for FY 1988, claiming that it was 
too late to allocate more monies. In response to the 
new request, the Program Fund told the Coalition 
it was too early to decide on funding levels for 
1989. They did consent, however, to consider the 
request at a staff retreat in May. The Fund also 
agreed to publish a call for "new innovative mini- 
series ideas" for independent work in its next 
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2. The American Experience: Coalition mem- 
bers relayed their difficulties in obtaining guide- 
line information from WGBH for the new 



American Experience series. Deborah Lefkow- 
itz, a Boston- area filmmaker, was told by WGBH 
that they would not release any information until 
she submitted a resume. Chicago producer Gor- 
don Quinn had similar problems, but finally re- 
ceived a copy of the guidelines — which are re- 
printed below. 

RENEE TAJIMA 



LUMIERE LIVES 

The documentary may be considered an "endan- 
gered species," but it has its defenders around the 
world. Last year a group of French filmmakers, 
led by Joris Ivens, formed La Bande a Lumiere, a 
nonprofit association to promote documentary 
cinema. They took their name from Louis 
Lumiere, the inventor of cinematography and the 
first producer of newsreels. The 200 plus mem- 
bership already counts such notables as Jean 
Rouch and Raymond Depardon. 

La Bande a Lumiere is engaged in battles strik- 



THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE GUIDELINES 



The American Experience will be the first on- 
going public television series devoted exclu- 
sively to the history and heritage of America. A 
joint effort of three of the leading PBS sta- 
tions— WGBH, Boston; WNET, New York; 
and KCET, Los Angeles — the series will pre- 
miere on PBS in the fall of 1988. 

The American Experience will offer an an- 
thology of programs exploring our national 
past. The series will not be organized chrono- 
logically, nor will it subscribe to one single 
school of historical thought or interpretation. 
Each program will stand on its own, indepen- 
dent of those that precede or follow. 

While the series will be principally docu- 
mentary in format, we are open to imaginative 
forms, and expect to include an occasional 
dramatic film. All programs, documentary and 
dramatic, will be one-hour in length. 

The initial season will consist of 16 films— 
the majority will be original films, produced es- 
pecially for the series. There will also be a 
limited number of acquisitions and coproduc- 
tions. We will consider films in progress, films 
in need of completion funds, as well as com- 
pleted films that have never been broadcast. 

Content: The stories chosen by The Ameri- 
can Experience will be stories that matter: sto- 
ries that explore the values, the ideas, the con- 
flicts, the confusions, and the triumphs of our 
collective past. They will possess an inherent 
intellectual depth and richness. While their 
focus may be quite concrete and specific, in 
each case they will illuminate larger dimen- 
sions of the historical landscape. A program 
focused on an individual, for example, will not 



merely chronicle a single life, but will use the 
biographical film to engage the broader dynam- 
ics and dilemmas of an era. 

The series will not be frightened by contro- 
versy or ambiguity — nor awed by tales of hero- 
ism or villany . We are looking for strength, wit, 
charm, and energy. And we intend to produce a 
series that is as entertaining as it is important — 
as honest and accurate as it is fun. 

Advisors: We will be working with a group 
of academic advisors drawn from universities 
across the country. Distinguished in their fields, 
eclectic in their interests, they possess a 
commitment and talent for reaching beyond the 
confines of academia to communicate with a 
wide audience. In addition to this standing 
group, we will call on particular scholars to 
advise filmmakers on individual programs. 

Producers: The series will work almost ex- 
clusively with producers who have proven their 
ability to handle complex material with intel- 
lectual rigor and artistic craftsmanship in docu- 
mentary film production. A strong track record 
with the hour format is essential as is a proven 
ability to bring in films on time and on budget. 
We are interested in entertaining proposals 
for the first season any time between now and 
the first of December, 1987. 

Clearly, overlap in ideas and stories is inev- 
itable. While The American Experience will re- 
spect original scholarship and uniqueness of 
approach, we reserve the right to pursue general 
subjects with those we belive best qualified for 
a particular project. 

Judy Crichton, Executive Producer, March. 1987 



6 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



ingly similar to those of U.S. independents. They 
have lobbied the Centre National du Cinema of 
the Ministry of Culture to save documentary 
films from the budget cuts in visual arts funding 
and are fighting television stations to maintain 
broadcast time for documentary work. Their 
strategy is manyfold. On June 6, 1986, the group 
launched a massive promotional campaign 
dubbed "D Day: The Documentary Lands." On 
that day, noncommercial users were offered free 
documentaries, with distributors, producers, and 
independent filmmakers donating half the rental 
costs and the other half matched by the Centre 
National du Cinema. "D Day" was promoted 
with a catalogue listing 1 ,200 titles and resulted in 
over 800 screenings across France. A second 
National Documentary Day will be staged on 
December 1, 1987, the catalogue will be ex- 
panded, and a selected list will be published in 
English. 

In March, La Bande a Lumiere published an 
in-depth market study of the economic, social, 
and cultural impact of documentaries. They regu- 
larly cover the topic of documentary media in 
their newsletter Documentaires. Future projects 
include booths at international film markets and 
an international symposium set for 1988, the Eur- 
opean Year of Cinema. For more information, 
contact La Bande a Lumiere, 67, rue Robespierre, 
93100 Montreuil-Sous-Bois, France; tel. 48-57- 
27-27. 

RT 



NEW DIRECTIONS 

Melinda Ward, the Minneapolis-based producer 
who conceived and guided the KCTA-Minnea- 
pplis series Alive from Off Center through two 
seasons, has been hired as the director of 
children's and cultural programming at PBS. 
John Schott, previously producer for the series, 
has been promoted to fill Ward's position. Sue 
Buske, executive director of the National Coali- 
tion of Local Cable Programmers, has resigned 
but will act as a consultant for the organization. 
The Collective for Living Cinema in New York 
City is recruiting a new executive director, fol- 
lowing the resignation of Kate Flax, the long- 
term chief administrator who steered the group 
through its recent relocation. On the opposite 
coast, the Independent Feature Project/West in 
Los Angeles has appointed Janet Smith as ex- 
ecutive director. Smith has produced a documen- 
tary on storytelling in America as well as having 
worked as an administrator. Further south, the 
curator of video at the Long Beach Museum of 
Art, Connie Fitzsimmons, has exited her post. 
And the American Film Insitute's 1986 National 
Video Festival director, Steve Ricci, resigned 
this spring. 



SEQUELS 

In late April the Supreme Court upheld a law 
allowing the U.S. government to label three 
Canadian films on environmental and nuclear 
issues "political propaganda" ["Feds Dump on 
Acid Rain Flicks," April 1983]. The 1938 Foreign 
Agents Registration Act defines political propa- 
ganda as all materials disseminated by foreign 
governments that might influence public opinion 
on U.S. foreign policy. The five-to-three vote in 
Meese vs. Keene overturned a federal district 
court decision barring the Justice Department 
from requiring that If You Love This Planet, Acid 
from Heaven, and Acid Rain: Requiem or Recov- 
ery? be registered and labeled. Writing for the 
court majority, Justice John Paul Stevens asserted 
that "political propaganda" as defined by Con- 
gress "has no pejorative connotation." Dissenting 
justices said this interpretation "simply strains 
credulity." 

Legislation codifying the fairness doctrine is 

sailing through Congress ["Congress and the FCC 
Decide the Fate of the Fairness Doctrine," May 
1987]. In April the Senate approved the fairness 
doctrine's legal status in S. 742 by a vote of 59 to 
3 1 . A nearly identical bill, H.R. 1 934 (named after 
Communctions Act of 1 934), is expected to move 
quickly to the floor of the House following its 
approval in May by the House Energy and Com- 
merce Committee. If passed, a fairness doctrine 
bill would still face the possibility of a presidential 
veto, which the Justice Department is recom- 
mending. 

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's board 
of directors has recommended that acting 
president Donald Ledwig become the permanent 
CPB chief. Ledwig, vice president and treasurer 
of CPB since November 1984, would replace 
Martin Rubenstein, who resigned in November 
1986. The recommendation, unanimously ap- 
proved by the four CPB board members, will be 
submitted to an expanded CPB board for consid- 
eration during their June meeting. At that time, 
some of the six vacancies on CPB's 10-member 
board of directors may be filled,, following the 
Senate confirmation hearings on those seats 
scheduled for late May. 



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JULY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 7 



IN FOCUS 



BASIC SURVIVAL IN SUPER 8, 

OR HOW TO BECOME A SUPER 8 SLEUTH 



Bob Brodsky 

and Toni Treadway 



PROCESSING 

Mediamakers who are intrigued by the usefulness 
of super 8 today are continually confronted with 
the fact that it's a consumer medium rumored to 
be dead in the marketplace. Acknowledging this, 
it may come as a surprise that super 8 (and 8mm) 
film and services are alive and well, if not readily 
accessible. And the quality of the services has ac- 
tually improved over that of a year past. At that 
time Eastman Kodak's Rochester, New York, lab 
was delivering processed film with random re- 
peating holes in the emulsion and taking up to six 
weeks to present these disasters. Company offi- 
cials heard familiar customer complaints with 
repeated expressions of surprise and dismay. 
Then, in what has become customary corporate 
style, they shut down the movie lab operation in 
Rochester (and Fairlawn, New Jersey ) and in- 
formed the personnel at the Kodak Processing 
Lab, Palo Alto, California, that all the little stuff 
(from North America) would henceforth be going 
through them. 

Kodak Palo Alto, told to expect a trickle, re- 
ceived a torrent of film to process and immedi- 
ately ran out of reels on which to return it. By fall, 
however, the log jam had been alleviated. As of 
March, it was possible to obtain in-one-day/out- 
the-next service by working directly with Cus- 
tomer Service director Ken Fossan or his col- 
league Vicki Williams. At present the lab is pro- 
cessing 8mm color (Kodachrome and 
Ektachrome 160) daily. Each roll must have pre- 
paid processing or an accompanying PK-59 
mailer and should be sent to Fossan or Williams' 
attention at the Kodak Processing Lab, 925 Page 
Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304; telephone (415) 
494-7555. Be sure to call them to set up the run 
and to specify the return shipper. 

The quality of the processing at Palo Alto in 
recent months has been high. Excluding a few 
calamities for which they completely shut down 
to root out the problems, Kodak's processing has 
shown off the filmstocks in their best color, 
gamma, and granularity (or lack thereof), and they 
have neither scratched nor added dirt to the film. 
We have seen hundreds of rolls processed in 
recent months at Palo Alto, and the processing is 
superior in all ways to the uneven work seen from 
the cheaper, "same day" local processing labs. 



FILMSTOCK 

Film supplies are only a problem if you need more 
than a few rolls at one time. Individual filmmakers 
have to become aggressive advocates of super 8 or 
remain satisfied with wheeling around the city 
finding one roll at a time. In Boston, for instance, 
super 8 users have made it advantageous for 
certain retailers to stock film, so there is seldom a 
shortage. In most of the world, however, obtain- 
ing raw stock is very difficult if you need more 
than three rolls. Several years ago we asked 
Kodak to make super 8 color Kodachrome avail- 
able directly to end users through their Motion 
Picture and Audio Visual Division. Their re- 
sponse was to move 16mm Kodachrome into 
direct purchase; super 8 is still the property of 
their Consumer Products division. Now, consum- 
ers are told daily by local dealers that super 8 is 
dead and urged to get into home video. This is not 
a likely option for the super 8 artist, so we are 
again at Kodak ' s ear to share the sales between the 
two divisions to enable direct purchase of quanti- 
ties of Kodachrome by filmmakers. This seems to 
be a radical and difficult idea for a corporation to 
contemplate, since we are not only unable to get 
the name of the decision maker, but all our phone 
calls to Rochester lead us back to the local Con- 
sumer Products representative who is sympa- 
thetic but not in a position of power. Every third 
call, we consider launching a letter-writing cam- 
paign to Kodak ' s president and wonder where that 
would lead. In view of Kodak's inertia, we advise 
cultivating a friendly dealer who will keep 
Kodachrome 40 in good supply. If we then notify 
one another of our sources, we can publish a list of 
dealers with super 8 reserves around the world. 

EQUIPMENT 

Super 8 equipment is generally in short supply, 
but there is enough used technology out there on 
closet shelves to set up independent filmmakers 
for many more years. We base this conclusion on 
the continued availability of regular 8mm equip- 
ment. Two groups that we are aware of have called 
on their constituencies to clean out the closets. 
Visual Communications, the Los Angeles Asian 
American media organization, was extraordi- 
narily successful in gathering donated equipment 
for their Filmmaker Development Program. The 
contra-watch group Witness for Peace sent out a 
limited call and found four cameras to supply their 
volunteers. If you're looking for a particular 
camera or projector, you will have to be vigilant. 



perhaps even a bit forward. Look in classified 
listings, post notices in video stores, ask your 
uncles who are camera bugs or have them try 
using the bulletin board at their country club. The 
logic of this approach is that many super 8 
filmmakers have relegated their gear to the attic 
and turned to home video. 

Jesse Chambless in Atlanta, Georgia (404) 
767-5210, Super8 Sound in Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts (617) 876-5876, and Halmar in Niagara 
Falls, Ontario (416) 356-6865 are all reliable (but 
not cheap) sources of recycled equipment who 
regularly ship internationally. Personnel at Su- 
pers Sound are working with a manufacturer to 
create a new film viewer that is more user-friendly 
than the Hahnel model currently available. They 
also say they're attending to the persistent audio 
crackle in the Nizo sound cameras. 

On a smaller scale there are specialty photo 
stores throughout the land that still have a place in 
the corner of their cupboard for super 8, single 8, 
and regular 8mm filmmakers. One such place is 
Gerry and John Krieger's Camera Shop of 
Fitchburg, Massachusetts, which moves equip- 
ment through so fast you can be there and miss it, 
but, occasionally, an unrecognized gem sits on the 
shelf for months. In Montreal Simon's Cameras 
and European Camera sit on stashes of equipment 
not always open to casual inspection but produced 
on request. Palaces of perpetual excitement over 
old Bolexes still exist. 

While attending the Montreal Super 8 Interna- 
tional Film Festival, we cruised the shops to see 
what is on the shelf or in the back room. This 
March we discovered a cache of new Elmo projec- 
tors at La Place Camera Store at very affordable 
prices, made more attractive by a favorable ex- 
change rate. Four telephone calls to needy 
filmmakers led to four projectors sold. And they 
gave us a reduced price, happy to remove the 
dusty boxes from their inventory. When you 
travel, leam to be a Super 8 Sleuth. If you find 
some equipment that you don't need, call some- 
one who does or call us: (617) 666-3372. We keep 
a running list of needy filmmakers and their 
needs. 

The supplies of "consumables" for super 8 film 
production ebb and flow with the demand. Par- 
ticularly annoying is the supply of auto-threading 
200' and 400' reels (the equivalent of film cores for 
16mm). When you see them, buy them, because 
when you are in search of a couple of dozen reels 
for editing your next project, the supply will have 
dried up. Plastic molding shops can produce only 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



so many so fast; they set up only once or twice a 
year. When the run is sold out, you have to wait. 
Almost everyone associated with students, ar- 
tists, and special producers who originate in super 
8 is surprised that the actual use and distribution is 
increasing. Our own experience is that super 8 as 
film is exhibited more frequently, that super 8 as 
video is included by museum and gallery curators 
more often than ever before, that television no 
longer balks at using super 8 works and 8mm- 
originated images for news programs — individ- 
ual programs or in series — and that, finally, there 
has been a noticeable decline in prejudice in the 
United States towards super 8 filmmaking. 
Thanks to the enlightened impresarios, program- 
mers, executive producers, and users, and the 
hundreds of artists and technical resource people 
who keep working to deliver all that this medium 
is capable of doing. 

Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway are the authors 
of Super 8 in the Video Age. 

© Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway 1987 



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JULY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 9 



A PUERTO RICAN LEGACY 

CINEMA AND SOCIAL REFORM 




Quynh Thai 



Imagine Jean Jacques Rousseau canvassing the French provinces toting 
spare copies of The Social Contract on one side of his horse and a 1 6mm film 
projector on the other side. At each stop, he urges villagers to read along 
through passages pointing out the inherent goodness of human nature. Then 
he beckons their attention to films depicting the fruitful processes that 
would result if they entered into social contract with fellow citizens. 
Implausible? Perhaps for the eighteenth century French philosophe, but not 
for the many Puerto Rican filmmakers, artists, social workers, and writers 
who in the twentieth century successfully reached their audiences in this 
manner. In the late forties, through the Division of Community Education, 
these activists committed a Rousseauesque coup among Puerto Rico's rural 
population, bringing to these communities information on hygiene, hous- 
ing, public works, and introducing them to democratic ideas of empower- 
ment through social participation. 

What could be a better medium than film to transport Puerto Rican 
villagers from their immediate conditions and show them that activism 
could improve their communities and strengthen their position in Puerto 
Rico's modernization process? Film, functioning as a source of information 
and an influence on ideas, could objectify the villagers' shared circum- 
stances, provoke introspection and action. Film, too, could depict the 
potential for these villagers to act as citizens who initiate the building of 
bridges, dams, or schools if necessary — as people who have a right to 
question ideas or investigate products, say, rather than remain complacent 
towards developments targeted at them. Film could show these villagers 
such possibilities. 

Between April 23 and May 3, the films produced by the Division of 
Community Education reemerged after over 20 years of dormancy, this time 
in New York City in "Films with a Purpose: A Puerto Rican Experiment in 
Social Films," initiated and organized by Ines Mongil Echandi and Luis 
Rosario Albert and the project's consultant, film historian Jay Leyda, 
sponsored by the nonprofit arts organization Exit Art. The program resur- 
rected the films not only as documentations of an era long past, but also as 
significant cinema relevant to today's artistic and socio-political situations. 



10 THE INDEPENDENT 



In the two years spent gathering the scattered films from the storage vaults 
of various labs, Mongil, Rosario, and Leyda conceived the program as a 
means to expose the period of social history of Puerto Rico represented in 
the films and reconstruct the process through which the films were created. 
"Films with a Purpose" sought to reflect this process in a contemporary 
context by combining screenings with discussions led by the filmmakers, 
the original organizer of the community programs, and the team that put 
together the 1987 program. Filmmakers such as Benji Doniger, Luis 
Maisonet, and Jack Delano explained their production methods and circum- 
stances; cinema specialists as well as Puerto Rican studies scholars offered 
other perspectives, adding information and insights about the meaning of 
the films. 

This ambitious project provokes many speculations. Can we appreciate 
these films only when they are confined to the context of Puerto Rico's 
"Quiet Revolution"? Can this visual social activism ever be repeated? The 
answers to the last two questions are yes and yes. Taken not as instruments 
of a social program, the films produced by the Division of Community 
Education embody a cinematic tradition that represents not only Puerto 
Rico, but other third world communities as well. Today, the films are like- 
wise valuable for their artistic experimentation. Take, forexample, Juan sin 
Seso (Brainless Juan), directed by Luis Maisonet. The subject matter — the 
potential dangers of commercial and political propaganda and the need to 
question propaganda — is intriguing, but the presentation of this subject is 
also filmically innovative. Instead of relying on a straightforward narrative, 
the filmmaker utilizes repetition and rapid cuts to emphasize the process of 
industrial alienation, and he animates and dramatizes characters humor- 
ously and critically to reveal their folly as slaves to consumer advertising. 

Especially significant, however, is the historical tradition that these films 
provide for young Puerto Rican filmmakers. For the first time, they will 
have a collection of films from which to derive their cultural aesthetics; they 
will have a national reference point for their works. Ines Mongil, who is 
currently working with her husband Luis Rosario on a National Film 
Archives for Puerto Rico, stated that the purpose of presenting the films 
publicly was to "situate the Puerto Rican cinematic experience within the 
worldwide cinematic tradition. This work represents Puerto Rico's national 
film history," she explained. "With it, people can no longer claim that the 
Puerto Rican film tradition began in the seventies." 

The Division of Community Education films also reinforce an undeni- 
able character of third world filmmaking still dominant today: filmmaking 
meant to further social and national consciousness. Like many who fol- 
lowed, the Puerto Rican filmmakers of the forties, fifties, and sixties spoke 
from their communities and for their people. Whether due to our disenfran- 
chised positions or our preferences, third world people today continue to 
place the issues and needs of our communities before art for art's sake. The 
Puerto Rican films serve as models for many of the third world countries that 
are still struggling to ease the social and political transition that accompa- 
nies modernization. According to Mongil, the popular Cuban agitprop 
campaigns seem to have emulated the earlier Puerto Rican experiment. 

Whether or not these films furthered romantic Rousseauesque notions of 
civic participation remains uncertain. The changed attitudes and ideas are 
difficult to measure. What is evident, though, is the significant social project 
they represent and the cinematic and artistic traditions that they have 
established for Puerto Ricans and third world filmmakers alike. 

Quynh Thai is a freelance writer working with Film News Now Foundation 
to promote participation of third world people in the media. 

©Quynh Thai 1987 

JULY 1987 



FILMS WITH A PURPOSE 

A PUERTO RICAN EXPERIMENT IN SOCIAL FILMS 




A Division of Com- 
munity Education 
crew on the set for 
Los Peloteros (The 
Baseball Team, 
1951): sound, Hector 
Moll; directing, Jack 
Delano; camera, 
Benji Doniger; with 
clapboard, Edwin 
Rosskam. 

Courtesy authors 



Ines Mongil Echandi 
and Luis Rosario Albert 



Ed's note: An earlier version of this essay was published by Exit Art in the 
catalogue for Films with a Purpose: A Puerto Rican Experiment in Social 
Films , edited by Jeanette Ingberman . We are grateful to Exit Art and the au- 
thors for permission to reprint the revised essay. 

for Jay Leyda 

At a time when Latin American and other third world national cinemas are 
finally receiving their long overdue recognition, we have understood the 
need to develop a plan for the methodological study of the Puerto Rican 
cinematic tradition. Our analysis concentrates on the collection of over 1 00 
odd films produced by the Division of Community Education during the 
1940s through the 1960s under the sponsorship of Governer Luis Munoz 
Marin. These films represent a national artistic expression whose great 
value was internationally recognized at the time but which after 40 years, 
lacked an analysis based on modern historical studies of film. 

This essay results from an extensive research project about Puerto Rican 
cinema, inspired by the enthusiastic participation of Jay Leyda, professor of 
film history at New York University, and supported by Exit Art, a nonprofit 
arts organization in New York City. This essay provides a general overview 
of Puerto Rican cinematic tradition, films as a visual presentation of the 
historical process of a developing nation. The essay is meant to situate the 
Puerto Rican cinema within the context of worldwide practices and to serve 
as a contribution to the historical studies of third world national cinemas. 



These films constitute a unique collection. They were produced as part of 
an innovative approach by the Puerto Rican government to organize and 
educate the adult population of Puerto Rico. The creation of the Division of 
Community Education meant the consolidation of ideas shared by a group 
of creative and political figures among whom were: Governor Munoz Marin 
and his wife Ines Mendoza, Jack and Irene Delano, Edwin Rosskam, Rene 
Marques, Fred Wale, and Carmen Isales. 

The program of the Division of Community Education combined the 
production of educational materials — books, posters, and motion pic- 
tures — with a program of field work and community organization carried 
out mostly in the rural areas of the island. The combination was to become 
a force in the lives of the people, something to stand on and to act by. The 
program had as its base the "idealistic" purpose of changing peoples' 
attitudes by group discussions and community action. Their goal was 
summarized in the preamble of the Act which created the Division of 
Community Education in 1949 under Puerto Rico's Department of Educa- 
tion. It was written by Munoz Marin in English and Spanish to ensure that 
his intentions were well understood: 

The goal of community education is to impart basic teaching on the 
nature of man, his history, his life, his way of working and of self- 
governing in the world and in Puerto Rico. Such teachings addressed 
to adult citizens meeting in groups in the barrios, settlements and urban 
districts, will be imparted through moving pictures, radio, books. 
pamphlets and posters, phonographic records, lectures and group 
discussions. The object is to provide the good hand of popular culture 
with the tool of basic education. In practice this will mean gi\ nig the 
communities and the Puerto Rican community in general the wish, the 



JULY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 




tendency and the way of making use of their own aptitudes for the 
solution of many of their own problems. 

The project of stimulating self-help in the communities relied on Mufioz 
Marin's ideas that the community should not be "civically unemployed" 
and that the government was not solely responsible for the social well-being 
of Puerto Rico. The Division was his favorite project since it reflected his 
ideas of education. It cultivated democratic participation by the community 
in the solution of their problems thereby building an infrastructure that 
raised rural levels of living, maximized the scarce fiscal resources for local 
public works, and enabled industrialization. In this sense, the Community 
Education program was a part of a larger project of industrialization 
developed by Mufioz Marin attracting United States capital to the island 
under the program "Operation Bootstrap." As well, the program inscribed 
within the parallel "Operation Serenity" the concept of a satisfactory way 
of life and culture for Puerto Ricans. The dramatic and widespread achieve- 
ments of "Operation Bootstrap" have tended to overshadow the great 
accomplishments of the Division of Community Education as a program 
which represented Mufioz Marin's concern with the noneconomic aspects 
of Puerto Rico's rapid economic and social transformations. The favoritism 
of Mufioz Marin towards this project is revealed in the fact that many of the 
films produced were premiered at the governor's mansion. 

The entire Community Education program was constructed as a complex 
educational machine consisting of four interrelated parts: Administration. 
Field and Training, Production, and Analysis. The Production Section was 



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Irene Delano conducts drawing exercises with trainees in the 
graphics section of the Division of Community Education's tilm unit. 

Courtesy authors 

divided into three units — Editorial, Graphics, and Cinema — which pro- 
duced three different educational and audio-visual materials: booklets, 
posters, and films. The production of educational materials began in 1946 
with the Division of Visual Education of the Public Recreation and Parks 
Commission. The Graphics Unit was headed by Irene Delano who intro- 
duced silk-screen printing techniques to the island. Jack Delano became the 
director of the Cinema Unit, while Edwin Rosskam occupied the position 
of editor and chief of the Production Section. One of the major tasks of this 
first team was to begin a campaign of recruiting the best Puerto Rican talent 
who showed interest in learning and developing the crafts of writing, 
graphics, and filmmaking. 

The films are inscribed within a government-sponsored production 
model of documentary films that underline the educational purposes with a 
creative use of cinema. The first films done in the Division of Visual 
Education, written by Rosskam, a former editor for the New Deal program 
at the Farm Security Administration, and directed by Jack Delano, a 
photographer for the FSA's Photographic Unit, constitute an experimental 
phase within the production of educational materials. 

The experience of the Division of Visual Education proved that the 
production of educational materials within the island's limited budget was 
possible. This established the model for the production of the films of the 
Division of Community Education. Films that were meant to challenge and 
change the attitudes of a traditional, rural, adult population required a 
specific style and mode of production. 

The first four films produced by the Division of Visual Education 
between 1 946-49 (Jesus T. Pinero, La Cana, Informe al Pueblo, La Voz del 
Pueblo) combine the use of factual footage with a voiceover narration that 
reaffirms the information provided by the image. The simple language of the 
first productions was based on statistical reports made at that time, that the 
average educational level of the adult rural population did not go over the 
fourth grade. Una Gota de Agua (A Drop of Water, 1947) marked the 
beginning of a production model later developed by the Division of 
Community Education. The use of factual footage and voiceover narration 
is accompanied by the convincing testimony of a "real" nurse urging the 
people to boil water, adding the use of natural actors. 

By the early fifties, the production, educational, and aesthetic model of 
the Division was clearly defined. Aside from using nonprofessional actors 
(members of communities) to play their life-stories on films, the films were 
shot on location in the Puerto Rican countryside. Entire crews spent months 
living with the people who were the actors, creating a relationship between 
them and the film producers that resulted in a greater realism. 

The films addressed two different aspects of education: information on 
specific community problems and events and messages to provoke the 
change of prejudicial or negative attitudes. With this aim, the use of drama 
was included as a way of appealing to popular emotion in order to provoke 
the desired change of attitudes. The films represented the problems of the 
adult rural society in a dramatic and realistic style and were based on true 
stories of the communities as they were reported by the group organizer. 

Some of the most common problems presented by the films as subject 
matter were: concrete community problems such as building bridges, roads, 
schools (Los Peloteros, 1951; Una Voz en la Montana, 1952; El Puente. 
1 954); consumer and market education ( Una Gota deAgua, 1947; Pedacito 
de Tierra, 1952; Juan sin Seso, 1959); old leadership (El Cacique, 1957); 
timidity (Ignacio, 1956); women's rights (Modesto, 1956; Que Opino la 
Mujer, 1957; Gena la de Bias, 1964); cooperative action (El de los Cuatro 
Cabos Blancos, 1955; Caminos del cooperativismo, 1961; El Yugo, 1959: 

Structured as flashbacks, Amilcar Tirado's 1952 film Una Voz en la 
Montana (A Voice in the Mountains) recalls the process by which 
neighbors of the Barrio Carruzos established a school for workers. 

Photo: Papo Colo, courtesy Exit Art 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



Comedian Diplo (left) starred in Los Peloteros (The Baseball Team), 
one of the few features produced by the Division of Community 
Education, about a group of boys and their difficulties in raising 
money to buy baseball uniforms. 

Photo: Papo Colo, courtesy Exit Art 

Accion Comunal, 1959); labor and social well-being (Las Manos del 
Hombre, 1952; La Cana, 1947; El H ombre Esperado, 1964; lnforme al 
Pueblo #1, 1948); and popular culture (Nenen de la Ruta Mora, 1955; La 
Plena, 1957; El Resplandor, 1962). 

One of the most important features of these films was that it they included 
the villagers and farmers who formed the majority of the Puerto Rican 
population. The films represented aspects of Puerto Rican jibaro (country 
person) everyday life, within their own context of labor and social relations. 
In general, the representation of the jibaro is not exploitative or paternalis- 
tic. In this sense, the films break away from the "pastoral nostalgia" and the 
misrepresentation of the jibaro found in bourgeois Puerto Rican literature. 
Instead, the films represent the jibaros recognition of themselves and the 
solutions of their problems as a group. However, not all of the problems 
facing the Puerto Rican rural population found a democratic solution. The 
films tend to portray an idealized vision of rural life in Puerto Rico that 
responds to the program's main purpose of promoting community meetings 
and, thus, changing attitudes. Different from other occidental "official" film 
productions that pose a problem and a solution, these films are concerned 
mainly with the representation of the process of the community's recogni- 
tion of its own problems. 

All across the island the Division's group organizers arranged commu- 
nity meetings to bring the message of democratic participation contained in 
the films and books, often going over difficult terrain in jeeps equipped with 
portable electric generators, a film projector and screen. On the day of the 
screening, the group organizer had already visited the community to 
distribute the books and to place the posters that promoted the film 
screenings and called the people to the site of the screening by playing music 
on the loudspeakers. The music attracted entire families who walked down 
the mountains bringing with them musical instruments to play along during 
the "festive" occasion. The films, based on everyday life of the rural people, 
created within the audience a sense of identification and stimulated discus- 
sion with the group organizers of their problems in relation to those 
portrayed in the films. 

Two weeks after the screening of the films, the group organizer met with 
the communities to discuss the way in which the films provided valuable 
information for solving their common problems. The group organizer was 
responsible for reporting back to the central office on the nature of the 
audience's reaction and the establishment of a relationship between the 
communities. These responses determined the content and themes of future 
films. 

With these films, the rural communities became the spectators of their 
own situation, seeing themselves and the solution to their problems repre- 
sented on the screen. This became a fundamental part in the development of 
the Division's production model. Stimulated by the films toward the 
solution of their own problems and improving their lives, they began 
constructing public works that resulted in government savings of millions 
of dollars annually, at the same time contributing to the democratic 
development of the society as a whole. 

After the first few years of production the films began to receive artistic 
recognition in the international film community. AmilcarTirado's film Una 
Voi en la Montana (A Voice in the Mountain) won a Diploma of Merit in the 
1 952 Edinburgh Film Festival. Modesta, directed by Benji Doniger with the 
Puerto Rican cinematographer Luis Maisonet, won the First Prize in the 
1956 Venice Film Festival and participated in the 1957 Melbourne Film 
Festival. 

Modesta, the story of a country woman's militant response to her 
husband's abuse, was directed in 1956 by Benji Doniger. 

Photo: Papo Colo, courtesy Exit Art 




As part of their professional training, the members of the Cinema and 
Editorial Units began to participate in the Robert Flaherty Seminars, a 
documentary film organization on the East Coast founded by Frances 
Flaherty, which included well-known film critics and filmmakers such as 
Erik Barnouw and Willard Van Dyke. The films were enthusiastically 
received and praised for their simplicity of cinematic narrative and dramatic 
documentary style which used natural actors. In 1955, through these semi- 
nars, Willard Van Dyke was invited to the island to train a new group of film 
technicians. His work in Puerto Rico resulted in the production of El de los 
Cuatro Cabos Blancos (The One with the Four White Hooves) and a short 
film about flowers. Mayo Florido (Flowering May). 

The program continued to attract international interest. In the 1950s the 
Museum of Modern Art presented an evening of Puerto Rican films. The 
RCA International Division published a bilingual booklet in recognition of 
the accomplishments of the Division of Community Education and as sales 
promotional literature for its own products. Furthermore, RCA made its 
own 30-minute color film: The School House on the Screen. The United 
States Information Agency and UNESCO began to distribute the films 
worldwide and they were shown in Italy and Latin America as an example 
of educational materials used by community action programs to stimulate 
adult education. 

In retrospect, the Division of Community Education's cinematic produc- 
tion forms part of the great wave of the realist aesthetic and "agit-prop" 
experience. In England, John Grierson, with the sponsorship of the colonial 
Empire Marketing Board, began to produce labor-oriented informative 




JULY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 




documentaries with the social and commercial protection of the state. 
Already in the late twenties Grierson posed the documentary filmmaker's 
aesthetic and social mission to "bring the citizen's eye in from the ends of 
the earth to the story, his story of what was happening under his nose.... The 
drama of the doorsteps" (quoted in Erik Barnouw, Documentary: A History 
of the Non-Fiction Film, New York, Oxford University Press, 1974). 

Under different historical conditions, this aesthetic wave is evident 
several years later in American documentary art of the thirties, in the work 
of WPA arts projects, the Photographic Unit of the FSA, Frontier Films, and 
especially in Pare Lorentz's New Deal films The Plow that Broke the Plains 
( 1936) and The River (1937). Pare Lorentz' case relates to the Puerto Rican 
documentary tradition because his sponsor was Rexford G. Tugwell, a 
member of President Franklin Roosevelt's brain trust and the last U.S.- 
appointed governor of Puerto Rico in 1 94 1 . Tugwell became the sponsor of 
an office of information which visually recorded the life of rural Puerto 
Rico. The office of information later produced John Ferno's film Puerto 
Rico (1947), one of the first documentaries made about the island by a 
member of the New York documentary film movement. 

That the first group of people who worked in the production of educa- 
tional materials in Puerto Rico was composed mainly of American artists 
and social workers tied to the New Deal programs constitutes an important 
aesthetic and ideological influence on the Puerto Rican documentary film 
tradition. On the other hand, the impact of the Italian Neo-Realist Cinema 
served to reaffirm the artistic possibilities of educational films in terms of 
using nonprofessional actors and location shooting within a dramatic style 
in the films of the Division of Community Education. 





El Santero (The Saintmaker) is Amilcar Tirado's lyrical profile of an 
old wood carver who lives in isolation, but must confront the 
contemporary spectre of competition from mass-produced plaster 
replicas. 

Photo: Papo Colo, courtesy Exit Art 



An analysis of the general results of the work of the Division of Commun- 
ity Education is certainly out of the scope of our essay. However, the 
material goal of sharing responsibility for the construction of local public 
works between the government and the community promoted the develop- 
ment of an infrastructure in the countryside that constituted part of the 
political justification of the program. Therefore, the impressive number of 
local public works accomplished should not be the only measure applied to 
the spiritual goal of achieving a change in the people's attitude toward 
democratic participation. 

The achievement of this goal of democratic consciousness is even harder 
to determine considering that the program of the Division of Community 
Education took place together with other government programs which were 
often contradictory. For instance, the massive migration movement of 
Puerto Ricans necessarily obstructed the Community Education effort. 
Also, while the Division of Community Education promoted women's 
rights, the government was launching a massive birth control campaign 
which resulted in the sterilization of a third of the female population of child- 
bearing age. 

Nevertheless, one of the most important contributions of the Division is 
in its cultural products. Millions of booklets were distributed and discussed 
in community gatherings. The films had a wide exposure between the 1940s 
and the 1960s with an audience of over 2,000,000 viewers. The production 
section of this government division became a workshop which gathered 
some of the most talented Puerto Rican artists. Writers like Rene Marques, 
Pedro Juan Soto, Emilio Diaz Valcarcal, and Jose Luis Vivas Maldonado 
gained experience and exposure. Graphic artists Irene Delano, Felix 
Bonilla, Carlos Raquel Rivera, Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufino, Isabel 
Bernal, and Antonio Maldonado developed a fine graphic tradition. 
Filmmakers such as Jack Delano, Amilcar Tirado, Luis Maisonet, Oscar 
Torres, Benjamin Doniger, Marcos Betancourt, and Angel F. Rivera were 
responsible for the production of a unique collection of social films. For 
these artists, some of whom have been associated with the independence 
movement in Puerto Rico, the educational artistic effort of the Division of 
Community Education was a patriotic mission which furthered the devel- 
opment of Puerto Rican society. 

Today, the films represent a visual memory of the political and economic 
transformations which took place in Puerto Rico some 40 years ago. To us, 
this collection shows a cinematic expression that is typically Puerto Rican, 
especially during the first 15 years of production. The Division of Commun- 
ity Education produced the most important body of films of a national 
cinema that exemplifies the aesthetic possibilities of the dramatic documen- 
tary style within the specific purposes of a government-sponsored adult 
education program. 

Ines Mongil Echandi and Luis Rosario Albert received Masters degrees in 
Cinema Studies from New York University. They are associate researchers 
for the film archive project of the Luis Muhoz Marin Foundation and film 
consultants to the Department of Education s film preservation project. 

© Ines Mongil Echandi. Luis Rosario Albert, and Exit Art 1987 









In Nenen de la Ruta Mora (Nenen of the Moorish Route) writer/ 
director Oscar Torres combined documentary footage of the 
folkloric Santiago Apostol celebration with the fantastic story of a 
young boy who becomes friends with "Vegigante," one of the 
characters of the celebration. 

Photo: Papo Colo, courtesy Exit Art 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



Dessert Hearts 




Vivian (Helen 
Shaver) and Walter 
(Alex McArthur) in 
Desert Hearts, 
directed by Donna 
Dietch. 

Courtesy the Samuel 
Goldwyn Company 



Mandy Merck 



Ed. ' s note : This article is part of a series of papers and transcribed talks de- 
livered at Viewpoints: A Conference on Women, Culture, and Public 
Media, held at Hunter College in New York City on November 8 and 9, 1 986 
[see our January/February 1987, April 1987, and June 1987 issues]. This 
national conference was independently organized by a committee of women 
involved in film, video, and photography (including The Independent editor 
Martha Gever and associate editor Renee Tajima) , cosponsored by Women 
Make Movies and Hunter College Women s Studies Department, and 
funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Council 
on the Humanities. Mandy Merck' s paper was presented at the panel on 
"Lesbian Fictions." 

When Joe Lorenzo discovers his fiancee Silver Dale and her friend Cay 
Rivers sharing a bath, he declares that the foam-covered duo look "like two 
desserts" — a remark which wasn't lost on the London critic Suzanne 
Moore. In her review for the Labour monthly New Socialist, she observed 
that Desert Hearts precisely "wants to have its cake and eat it — because all 
the men are so nice and understanding, because the women are just so 
gorgeous to look at, any challenge lesbianism might represent is under- 
played." 

The association of lesbianism and "challenge" in the cinema is hardly 
new — indeed British reviewers often dealt with Desert Hearts in these 
terms, praising it in some quarters for not "alienating" viewers, and damning 
it in others for the same reason. Yet the truly challenging lesbian film has 
proved notoriously elusive, beckoning faintly from cinema's remote past 
(the much-mythologized 1931 Girls in Uniform) or its imagined future. 
Thus, a review of Desert Hearts in the feminist magazine Sparc Rib argued. 



"[A] film which attempts a broader exploration of issues around lesbian 
identity and contemporary lifestyles still remains to be made." 

But while we can all imagine the genuinely progressive text, I sometimes 
think we are oddly less in touch with the current situation, in which the 
lesbian romance is becoming a conventional — and highly conventional- 
ized — narrative in the "art" cinema of Europe and North America. By "art" 
cinema I mean theatrical features which oppose the "international style" 
and subjects of Holly wood — films which have historically involved an em- 
phasis on cultural specificity (of a nation or social group) and personal 
authorial "expression" (the director typically being designated as auteur). 
Such a definition could easily apply to certain U.S. filmmakers working 
outside Hollywood (for example, the John Sayles of Lianna. but not the John 
Sayles of Piranha), and it is intended to. Historically, such a cinema has 
proposed itself as the exponent of a more realist representation of sex and 
sexuality than that afforded by the Hays-censored Hollywood of the thirties 
and later, or by the various formulas mandated by today's youth market. 
Certainly in the U.S., from the end of the Second World War until the mass- 
marketing of harder-core films, European "art" movies meant "adult" 
movies meant "sexy" movies.... 

Now, as I have argued in Charlotte Brunsdon's anthology. Films for 
Women (London: BFI Books, 1 986), the lesbian romance is an ideal subject 
for a cinema which takes its sex seriously and in some sense sells on that 
basis. It provides a sufficient degree of difference from dominant heterosex- 
ual conventions to be seen as "realistic," "courageous." "questioning" — all 
terms from British reviews of Lianna — but it does this by offering literally 
more of the same, more of the traditional cinematic use of the figure of the 
woman to signify sexual pleasure, sexual problems, sex itself. So it's not 
surprising to find lesbian characters across the history of art cinema — from 
Rossellini's Open City to various Bergman films toChabrol's / <\ />/< Ins to 
Bertolucci's Conformist. Of course, these characters weren't cmpkncJ 



JULY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 




Ruth (Jane Hallaren) 
and Llanna (Linda 
Griffiths) in Lianna, 
directed by John 
Sayles. 

Courtesy United Artists 
Classics 



until quite recently for romantic purposes, but to signify decadence or doom. 
They didn't even come in pairs usually, but as solitary eruptions into the 
heterosexual milieu. 

Desert Hearts is different from its art cinema precursors in ways that 
would have seemed Utopian, say, 10 years ago. The villainous lesbian 
character and the tragic lesbian romance of even a recent film like the 
Hungarian Another Way (where one lover is paralyzed by her vengeful 
husband and the other killed trying to escape the country) seems almost 
magically transformed into this comic romance with a happy ending. And 
certainly sections of the London press hailed it as a remarkable develop- 
ment, attributable in large part to the politics and determination of its 
director (Donna Deitch, who is characteristically seen as the "author" of the 
film, rather than its script- writer, Natalie Cooper, or even the novelist Jane 
Rule). 

Yet this innovation depends upon a number of familiar cinematic 
elements: 

1 . The popular romance. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl due to parental 
disapproval, boy finally gets girl back. As Annette Kuhn noted in a 
discussion of Desert Hearts last autumn, this standard plot line would be 
highly improbable (and thus uncommercial) in a contemporary film. Make 
it homosexual, however, and it achieves immediate plausibility. The lesbian 
romance renews the genre. 

2. The seduction of the woman. My use of the boy/girl formula in the 
previous example wasn't altogether innocent, since Desert Hearts is 
steeped in the heterosexual tradition of the active pursuit of the reluctant 
woman. It doesn't invoke the literal, commercially off-putting codes of 
butch and femme, but is does employ traditionally related dichotomies of 
class (cheeky casino girl pursues shy professor), geography (candid west- 
erner courts aloof easterner), sexual history (experienced lesbian brings out 
previously faithful wife), and appearance (passionate brunette warms up 
cool blonde, who honors a long cinematic tradition by eventually letting her 
hair down). The brunette/blonde: active/passive dichotomy is now an 
established convention of the lesbian romance — it features in Personal 
Best, Simone Barbes, Another Way, Entre Nous, and Lianna, as well as 



Desert Hearts. (The lesbian vampire film reverses the convention, making 
the predator a blonde in Daughters of Darkness and The Hunger — a sort of 
photo-negative of the dark male Dracula.) 

What ' s really remarkable about Desert Hearts' adhesion to these conven- 
tions is that they were all written into the film adaptation: in Jane Rule's 
novel there is no parental disapproval. Frances is happy for Cay (called Ann 
Childs in the novel) to find love wherever she can. The delaying device is 
the two principals' own guilt and pessimism. Secondly, the characters are 
not so rigidly skewed between activity and passivity, or between parallel 
symbolic dichotomies: 

1. Far from the dark/blonde opposition, the two lovers look so alike 
people think they're related. . 

2. They both live in the West (Evelyn teaches at Berkeley, not Columbia). 

3. They're both educated (the Cay figure has a degree, works part-time 
as a political cartoonist, and — like almost everyone in the novel — has a 
large library and an achingly conspicuous command of English literature). 

Where the novel's characters do differ is in age: they're 15 years apart, 
not 1 as in the film, and people take them for mother and daughter. This age 
difference relates to the novel's themes of sterility (it's titled Desert of the 
Heart, remember) and maternity, and is discussed in frankly Oedipal terms. 
Silver refers to Evelyn as "the latest mother figure" and warns the Cay 
character: "Love, when little boys want to marry their mothers, they have 
a hard enough time of it, but they manage. When little girls want to marry 
their mothers...." 

This theme (desire between mothers and daughters) is clearly far too 
challenging for a popular romantic film, although it might just qualify for 
film noir or a social problem drama about incest, so the age difference 
between the characters is reduced, and their status differences heightened 
instead. (Interestingly, cross-status desire isn't conventionally taboo in the 
way that cross-generational desire is.) Furthermore, I believe that it would 
have been much more jarring if Evelyn had left Reno with Cay ' s stepbrother 
Walter, who also pursues her in the film. The heterosexual older woman 
romance is hardly unprecedented in Hollywood melodrama (think of Rock 
Hudson and Jane Wyman in All That Heaven Allows and Lily Tomlin and 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



John Travolta in Moment to Moment), but by now it's probably less 
conventional than the lesbian romance. 

In order to succeed as a popular romance, Desert Hearts was divested of 
any social or political ramifications or contexts which would restrict its 
generality. As Donna Deitch herself argues, "I didn't want to put it in '70s 
New York. It's not about lesbian custody or any particular issues, it's 
essentially a love story." This principle of universal applicability is conven- 
tionally seen as a mark of artistic success. Thus British reviews of Lianna 
repeatedly praised the film for dealing not just or primarily with lesbianism 
or coming out, but with "the problem of [establishing] an independent life,", 
"starting over," and — my all-time favorite — "the endless mystery of life 
and sex." Such universality requires a distance from particularities of 
politics and history which makes Lianna seem exceptionally naive for a 
faculty wife in contemporary New Jersey. Similarly, Desert Hearts is set in 
a fantasized Wild West (where anything goes, pardner) in an idealized retro- 
chic fifties, without any of the fifties circumstances which could have 
contributed to the guilt and pessimism represented in Rule's novel. 

The final cinematic convention I want to examine brings us back to the 
scene in the bathroom. It's axiomatic in feminist film theory that main- 
stream cinema tends to eroticize the female body rather (or much more than) 
that of the male. And that it organizes its camerawork and editing so that the 
spectator's point of view coincides with that of the hero, who looks with us 
at the erotic spectacle of the woman. 

Now consider the poster image for Desert Hearts: on it Evelyn (the 
eastern professor) stands awkwardly in the foreground in her city suit 
looking out past the spectator, while Walter, Cay, and her girlfriend Gwen 
lean languidly against Cay's phallicly finned convertible and stare apprais- 
ingly at Evelyn. Like many film poster images, this shot was staged — it's 
neither in the film nor was it Deitch's first choice, an image of the two 
principals meeting for the first time on the highway. This image was set up 
at the behest of the marketing department of the film's distributor, the 
Samuel Goldwyn Company, who asked for a shot which would include 
more characters than just the two lovers. 

In London, advertisements for the film surrounded this poster image with 
critical quotes like: "brilliant and steamy. ..extremely erotic," "Touching, 
erotic and fresh," "A passionate and beautifully controlled drama." Despite 



its fabrication, I think the poster represents a most appropriate "narrative 
image" for Desert Hearts. On the one hand, the male spectator — via Walter 
in the poster and Joe in the bathroom scene — is invited into an identi fication 
with lesbian desire (an interesting reversal on the psychoanalytic presump- 
tion that lesbians identify with male desire!). Deitch's own remarks about 
a male spectator at the Toronto Film Festival ("I think it's a compliment that 
he is drawn to them and their experience") seems to touch on this. So, more 
emphatically, does the praise of the New Musical Express: "The film totally 
accepts the existence of lesbian relationships, and manages not to alienate 
the male audience." 

On the other hand, the female viewer is invited into the place which 
feminist film theory (crudely speaking) assigns to the male viewer: that of 
the voyeur gazing at the erotic spectacle of the woman, actively desiring her 
seduction and identifying with her seducer. I think that's true of other recent 
lesbian romances, notably Lianna, which includes a sequence at the lesbian 
bar with marked close-ups of eyes and eyeline matches in which Lianna 
learns to look erotically at other women. So much so that the next morning 
she can hardly take her eyes off women passing in the street. 

In Films for Women, I asked what the consequences would be of a cinema 
which frees the woman's look in order to vindicate that of the spectator? 
What does it do to our aspirations for that challenging lesbian film — often 
described as one which would disturb the pact between the voyeurism in the 
cinema and that in the narrative? Instead of answering that question, I'll 
close with a note from film history, one which suggests that even the pristine 
reaches of the past may be implicated in this regime of looking. Take the 
supposed epitome of anti-patriarchal, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic "chal- 
lenge" — whose production supervisor, Carl Froelich, decided to alter its 
title from that of the stage original, Yesterday and Today: "We want to get 
back the money we're investing. We'll call it Girls in Uniform — then they'll 
think, there'll be girls in uniform playing about and showing their legs" — 
and whose Rumanian distributor cabled urgently for a new print, with 20 
more meters of kissing.... 

Mandy Merck is the editor of the British media studies journal Screen. 

© Mandy Merck 1987 




The publicity still 
used as the poster 
image for Desert 
Hearts. 

Courtesy the Samuel 
Goldwyn Company 



JULY 1987 



THE INDEPENDENT 17 



FESTIVALS 



FESPACO FOREVER 




The legendary West 
African queen who rose 
up against the French 
colonizers is celebrated 
in Med Hondo's epic film 
Sarraouinia, grand prize 
winner at FESPACO. 

Courtesy Dempsey Media 



Clyde Taylor 



Ed.' s note: This article first appeared in the 
Spring 1987 issue o/Black Film Review and is re- 
printed here courtesy of the editor and author. 

What Ghana is to cocoa and Kenya to ivory, the 
young West African nation of Burkina Faso (three 
and a half years since a coup transformed it from 
Upper Volta; median age of inhabitants around 1 7 
years) is to African cinema. For one week every 
two years, the small urban center of Ouagadougou 
(population 400,000) lives up to its name of 
Capital of African Cinema, becoming an oasis for 
African filmmakers and friends of African cin- 
ema from dozens of countries across the continent 
and around the world. But this year, from Febru- 
ary 21 to 28, FESPACO, the Festival of Pan 
African Cinema, seemed to take off beyond its 
usual biannual growth, welcoming delegations 
from Canada, Latin America, and a contingent of 
60 Americans (compared to 15 or so in 1985). 

Too rapid expansion, visible in unfinished 
hotel constructions, led to a neurotic crush for ac- 
commodations, breakdowns of schedules, equip- 
ment, transportation schemes, the indifferent ef- 
fectiveness of translation systems freshly laid on 



for the benefit of English speakers. So said some 
observers early in the week. And collectors of 
contradictions might have treasured the progres- 
sive comrade who gave out prized hotel assign- 
ments like a judge in a beauty contest — first keys 
to the youngest, light-skinned women, then work- 
ing his way down his chain of aesthetic-erotic 
fantasy. Was it more amazing that none of the 
babies tied to their mothers' backs ever cried, or 
that jumbo-sized men crudely pushed these 
smaller folk aside in the door-presses at the thea- 
ters? Inconveniences, disappointments, contra- 
dictions — but it was hard to locate a spectator who 
hadn't found more festival than bargained for, 
who was not buoyed by the general spirit of warm 
camaraderie. 

For the official opening, nearly 60,000 chant- 
ing, rocking Burkinabe and foreign guests over- 
flowed the new, Chinese-built soccer stadium, 
cheering a spectacle that included a very live and 
very hot Ivory Coast sound, a fusion of West 
African and Caribbean funk, to which celebrants 
breakdanced, a parade of the colors of the many 
nations and groups participating, a parade of ani- 
mal dancers, another of traditional masked danc- 
ers, and a squad of parachutists in national colors 
and FESPACO flags alighting in the middle of the 
stadium while the scoreboard flashed slogans of 



liberated cinema or capsule facts of FESPACO 's 
past. For one trembling moment, FESPACO 
Fever threatened to spill over into instant carnival 
as young people raced to dance in the middle of 
the field. 

The rest of the week fell out like this auspicious 
beginning, interesting events conquering any 
possibility of disappointment by their unexpected 
abundance. Retrospectives were unreeled of the 
cinemas of the Cameroons, Canada, and Tunisia. 
For the first time, video was included in the 
festival. Also new was the market, where produc- 
ers could show their films to potential distribu- 
tors. English-speaking distributors, mostly Afri- 
can Americans, showed up in unexpected num- 
bers, with new companies or distribution projects. 

Again this year, some cineastes rose early and 
rode out to the Battle of the Rail — that is, laid 
some symbolic ties on a railway under construc- 
tion. Again, public debates and press conferences 
carried on the radio dialogues where anyone with 
two cents could weight in with the directors of the 
previous night's films. The fashion show was 
bigger and more spectacular. A more singular 
event was the dedication of the monument to 
African filmmakers — a 30-foot sculpture-con- 
struct simulating film cans and lenses — at a major 
crossroad. 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



JULY 1987 



Most of the stills I shot didn't come out, but 
there are moments still-imprinted in my memory. 
Like actress Rosalind Cash dismounting a camel 
poorly coordinated by one of her several, silent 
Tuareg admirers. Or Ousmane Sembene playing 
countless taped versions of "Lili Marlene" for his 
cronies at a poolside table late into the night — 
ruminating no doubt on the film he is scheduled to 
shoot in March, Camp de Thiaroye. Or Julian 
Murage, improvising a Rasta breakdance on a 
son-come-home theme at the opening. Or the way 
the waiter at the hotel abruptly disappeared, only 
to turn up at the cinema before we did. 

One of the revitalized perceptions that FES- 
PACO affords is the value of people-centered- 
ness, so much more obvious in surroundings 
where the distractions of massive industrial de- 
velopment and overabundance — what Guy De- 
Bord called "the society of the spectacle" — are 
reduced. So it makes sense to mention some of the 
participants not merely as bearers of some of the 
interests and traditions represented. Sembene 
(Senegal) and Tahaar Cheriaa (Tunisia) were 
awarded medals for their contributions to African 
cinema at the President's banquet. The Ivorian 
group Woya sang, and Fela was present, but did 
not perform. The Latin American Filmmakers' 
Association was represented, by Salvador Al- 
varez, among others. Fernando Birri of Argentina 
and Sergio Giral, Cuba, were among the festival 
judges, as was Sheila Walker, anthropologist 
from the U.S. Madame Yande Diop, director of 
Presence Africaine, and also a jury member, 
announced support for a new prize for best adap- 
tation of an African literary work. Also present 
were Madame Danielle Mitterand, as was Jack 
Lang, former French Minister of Culture. Charles 
Kenyatta, Manhattan activist, was part of a dele- 
gation from the Harlem Third World Trade Insti- 



Beginning with this issue, the 
articles featured in the "Festi- 
vals" column of The Indepen- 
dent will report on recent 
events and no longer be coor- 
dinated with deadlines for up- 
coming festivals. For instance- 
using past scheduling criteria- 
Clyde Taylor's article on FES- 
PACO would appear in the 
summer or fall of 1988, since 
the festival is held every two 
years. Instead, we will now 
publish such reports in a more 
timely manner. We will con- 
tinue to present information on 
festivals with imminent dead- 
lines in the "In Brief" section, 
which has been expanded to 
cover more festivals. 



AFTERIMAGE 

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